Gary Gensler, the Chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a CNBC interview on Monday that Bitcoin (BTC) was a commodity.
Clearly, Gensler did not mention Ethereum (ETH), the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap. But did he say that Bitcoin was the “only commodity” in crypto?
Scott Melker aka ‘The Wolf of All Streets’ says the SEC chief did not make such a specification and that he was “very careful with his words.”
Recap of Gary Gensler’s remarks
One of the headlines had suggested that Gensler said Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency that’s a commodity. Here’s what the SEC chair said:
“Many of these crypto-financial assets have the key attributes of a security. So some of them are under the SEC. Some, like Bitcoin, and that’s the only one I am going to say because I am not going to talk about any one of these tokens, my predecessors and others have said they’re a commodity.”
According to Melker, it is clear that Gensler is “non-committal as to his own thoughts” as he mentions predecessors and others.
He also appears to be stating that there are two groups of cryptocurrencies – securities and commodities. But what he only wanted to talk about was Bitcoin, which again, has been categorized as a commodity by “others and predecessors.”
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried also states Gensler did not specify that BTC was the only commodity in the crypto sphere.
to be clear he said BTC was the only cryptocurrency he was comfortable saying was a commodity, while many were securities
it didn’t address explicitly what all others were
“That’s the only one I’m going to say because I’m not going to talk about any one of these tokens” https://t.co/P1krUEYdtk
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) June 27, 2022
Ethereum not mentioned
On why he doesn’t mention other coins or name securities, Melker noted in his latest edition of ‘The Wolf Den’ newsletter:
“He likely wants to avoid putting a spotlight on other coins, especially while legislators are forming policy, regulators are waiting for a mandate.”
There’s a bill before the US Congress that seeks to have a clear demarcation of what falls under the purview of the SEC and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
In 2018, former SEC official William Hinman gave a speech in which he suggested both Bitcoin and Ethereum were not securities. In December 2020, the SEC sued Ripple over claims it had sold unregistered securities.