Hunter Horsley, CEO of Bitwise Asset Management, says the year 2018 delivered significant factors needed to support a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. Bitwise currently has a Bitcoin ETF under review with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The proposal is up for review in March.
- Futures with CME and Cboe
- Regulated custodians entering the space, i.e. Fidelity
- Endowments investing
- Pensions investing
- Trade volumes up
- Interest in crypto platforms, products and services from major tech players, i.e. Samsung, Facebook
Speaking to CNBC, Horsley says,
“At the beginning of 2019, where we stand is, it’s never been a more viable ecosystem, an asset class. And prices have come down substantially.”
“We saw the audience that was most interested in crypto totally change between 2017 and 2018. In 2017, it was individuals, high-net-worth individuals, people who were really nimble. They could make an investment decision on their own. A friend told them and explained something to them, and they decided to invest based on that. In 2018 the audience really shifted. So a lot of those individuals shied away from the space, whereas advisors, endowments, pensions became the more interested audience, and for many of them today – we saw a lot of them invest in the second half of 2018 – it’s now a question of when, and they’re digging in and they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to participate.”
Bitwise has proposed one of two Bitcoin ETFs currently under review.
“There are currently two filings: us with the New York Stock Exchange. We have the first review date. Our review date [with the SEC] will be March. And then the other filing is with another great firm, VanEck, and they’re partnered with Cboe.
So both of our firms are working with the SEC to help answer the questions rhR they have, and the questions are specific in getting to a great place in terms of the depths of understanding.”
Horsley says the main focus has moved toward pricing and market manipulation. He says his firm has done a fair amount of analysis.
“Some of the numbers that you see on various websites about crypto are not exactly accurate. But what’s important is that we have an accurate understanding of the market today, and I think that that’s what is being built in our conversations, and we’re optimistic about where things stand.”
Horsley believes Bitwise will be able to satisfy the SEC by answering all of their questions and concerns about crypto trading and investing.
Regarding institutional investors, he says some aren’t waiting for the SEC to give the green light.
“They’re coming in now, ahead of it, through private vehicles like our private index fund and other offerings in the space…
But for the vast majority of investors, an ETF will be an enabling moment.”
In December, Bitwise commissioned a survey of financial advisor attitudes. Horsley says that according to the results, 60% of over 150 respondents would use an ETF to invest in cryptocurrency.