Elizabeth Warren: SEC ‘Wrong on the Law’ Over Bitcoin ETF Approval

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Elizabeth Warren: SEC 'Wrong on the Law' Over Bitcoin ETF Approval
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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval of multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs.

In a post on Twitter, Warren said that the regulator was “wrong on the law and wrong on the policy” regarding the decision to approve spot Bitcoin ETFs from asset managers including BlackRock, Grayscale and Ark Invest.

She added that, “If the SEC is going to let crypto burrow even deeper into our financial system, then it’s more urgent than ever that crypto follow basic anti-money laundering rules.”

In a statement following the approval of the ETFs, SEC chair Gary Gensler said that, “I have often said that the Commission acts within the law and how the courts interpret the law,” and that circumstances had “changed” after a court order forced the regulator to review Grayscale’s application.

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At the time, the court found that the SEC had lacked a coherent explanation for its denial of Grayscale’s application to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) product into a spot Bitcoin ETF, given that it had already approved Bitcoin futures ETFs—calling the “unlike regulatory treatment of like products” unlawful.

Elizabeth Warren vs crypto

Warren has repeatedly criticized cryptocurrency and the crypto industry, linking it to money laundering and terrorist financing, and claiming that groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad have raised “over $130 million in crypto.” The figure has been disputed by blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, which claims that a Wall Street Journal article cited by Warren had “misinterpreted” data provided by the firm.

The Senator has called for the Bank Secrecy Act to be updated to address the “threat” of cryptocurrency, and is the sponsor of the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, a bill that aims to expand know-your customer (KYC) requirements to a wide range of blockchain infrastructure providers and participants.

Among other provisions, the bill would require platforms and networks to identify self-custody crypto wallet holders and track their transactions.

The bill has been criticized by crypto advocacy groups such as Coin Center, which described it as an “opportunistic, unconstitutional assault on cryptocurrency self custody, developers, and node operators.” In December 2023, Warren took aim at crypto industry lobbyists themselves, claiming that they “undermine” the Biden Administration’s efforts to curb terrorist financing through crypto.

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