We’re closer to a bitcoin ETF, but ‘not all the way there yet’: CIO

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Bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds are closer to reality than ever, but approval is still a long way off, says a market analyst.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently considering VanEck’s second proposal for a Bitcoin ETF. Officials now have approximately two weeks to decide whether to approve, deny, or extend their review window.

Even if Coinbase’s direct listing revives interest in the cryptocurrency market, potential Bitcoin ETF issuers will continue to face obstacles, says Matt Hougan, chief investment officer of Bitwise Asset Management.

“The crypto industry … has gone through this massive institutional maturation. Every aspect has improved significantly over the past five years, the past three years, and the last year. Coinbase’s IPO is just another part of that narrative,” he said said CNBC’s “ETF Edge” this week.

“So, absolutely, we’re getting closer to a bitcoin ETF. I continue to think it’s a matter of when, not a case, but we’re not quite there yet,” he said. “The SEC asked good questions, and companies like Bitwise and others have worked to resolve them. But I think we’re getting closer.”

The nomination of Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive who taught a class on cryptocurrencies and blockchain at MIT, as head of the SEC could move things forward, Hougan said.

“I think it helps that there is a new administration, a new fresh set of priorities and that he is an expert in the field, but I don’t think there is any magic sauce,” said the CIO.

“The market has to be good enough, has to be institutional enough, has to be mature enough to support an ETF before the SEC gives the green light. But the good news is that we are closer to that point today than we were in the past. and I really think we’ll get there. “