ETF Edge

Bitcoin ETF coming ‘in a year or two,’ analyst says as SEC mulls applications

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Bitcoin ETF decision nears. What investors should watch

The Securities and Exchange Commission formally acknowledged a bitcoin ETF proposal from VanEck just two weeks ago, starting the countdown on its 45-day approval timeline.

But seeing a bitcoin ETF approved in the next 30 days isn't that likely, according to Todd Rosenbluth, head of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA Research.

It's more likely that the SEC will extend its timeline, he told CNBC's "ETF Edge" on Monday.

"We've got a number of firms that have either gone through the filing process or have previously filed but are waiting for more clarity," Rosenbluth said. "The SEC is less likely to try to pick a winner, we think, as to who comes first and we're more likely to see them — if they do approve any ETF — to approve multiple bitcoin-related ETFs. We've got a number of firms that have entered and we think we're likely to see one in the coming year or two, but we don't have a firm time frame as to when the answer would be yes."

Joining the roster of prospective bitcoin ETF issuers is Grayscale. The investment firm said Monday it was "100% committed" to converting its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF. VanEck, Fidelity and Valkyrie Digital Assets are among the firms that have already filed applications.

With so much discussion around bitcoin, some may wonder whether it could be worked into ETFs such as VanEck's new Social Sentiment ETF (BUZZ) because of the digital coin's popularity, but the answer is no, says Jamie Wise, founder of Buzz Indexes.

"There's an awful lot of discussion around bitcoin and other crypto-assets and tokens for buyers, but no, you shouldn't expect to see any crypto into BUZZ," he said in the same "ETF Edge" interview. "BUZZ is very clearly defined as large-cap U.S. equity exposure by sentiment and would not hold bitcoin or other crypto-assets."

While you won't find any crypto-assets in BUZZ, VanEck's models do track and analyze sentiment around cryptocurrencies, "and we'll see what happens in the future," Wise said. "Maybe not in BUZZ. Maybe in something else."

In other areas of the ETF market, there is still a push to incorporate crypto exposure despite regulatory limits.

Art Amador, co-founder and chief operating officer of EquBot and the man behind the Artificial Intelligence Powered ETF (AIEQ), said that while his fund can't invest in bitcoin, it's important to get into the crypto ecosystem.

AIEQ does this through small-cap names such as Silvergate Capital, which provides cash management services to digital currency businesses, and Marathon Digital Holdings, a cryptocurrency mining company. 

"We want investors to have exposure," Amador said in the same "ETF Edge" interview. "That said, we're also seeing a lot of regulatory headwinds, not just here in the U.S., but also globally."

Still, he expects further increases into the ecosystem as headwinds subside.

The price of bitcoin climbed nearly 1.5% on Monday, according to CoinMetrics.

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