Recent statement by Jay Clayton, former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), during his appearance on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’. The main subject? The case involving Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
The heart of the debate revolves around Bankman-Fried’s actions in controlling FTX. According to Clayton, the government will try to build a story that suggests the former CEO raised money from investors for a purpose, but ended up diverting it for his own benefit. This will be corroborated by witnesses and documentary evidence.
On the other hand, Bankman-Fried’s defense will lean into interesting territory: that of “mens rea”. In simple terms, they will try to demonstrate that he believed he was acting in accordance with the law. And, as Clayton pointed out, witnesses and documents will also be valuable tools in this clash.
An intriguing issue addressed was the veracity of witnesses who entered into agreements with the government. Clayton clarified that although their credibility may be put to the test, they are not the only line of evidence. There are documents and other means that will play a decisive role in the trial.
Outside of the FTX case, Clayton opened up about his perceptions of crypto and regulation. He highlighted the essentiality of a consistent regulatory environment, starting with well-structured and regulated stablecoins.
But the icing on the cake was his comment on the future of Bitcoin. The former SEC chairman said that both the CFTC and SEC have already categorized Bitcoin as a commodity. He highlighted the improved effectiveness of the Bitcoin spot market, leading him to believe that the approval of a Bitcoin ETF in the US is just a matter of time.
Clayton’s final words were clear and direct: “Now, with a clearer regulatory view on Bitcoin, a Bitcoin ETF seems like a logical next step. The Bitcoin market has shown remarkable maturity.”
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