ETF Edge

Investors really want a bitcoin ETF, Van Eck CEO says after SEC delays approval again

Why this expert says the SEC should approve a bitcoin ETF
Why this expert says the SEC should approve a bitcoin ETF

Van Eck's bitcoin ETF proposal has hit yet another bump in the road, but its CEO isn't backing down.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a Wednesday filing that it will delay its decision on whether to approve the VanEck Bitcoin Trust a second time, extending its review process and requesting comment from interested parties on how the rule change could impact markets.

Approval may only be a matter of time given the demand for the product, Van Eck Associates CEO Jan van Eck told CNBC's "ETF Edge" on Monday.

"We really think the SEC should approve a bitcoin ETF. The only alternative investors have is a closed-end fund that trades it at a 40% premium or 20% discount," van Eck said, referring to the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), the largest bitcoin-related fund on the market.

"Bitcoin futures ... aren't any better because of the shape of the futures curve. There's a futures-based fund that underperformed bitcoin by 22% last year and 8% this year," the CEO said. "Can't predict what the SEC will do, but investors are really asking for a more efficient access vehicle."

When that access vehicle will gain the SEC's approval remains to be seen, he said.

"It doesn't sound like the chairman is putting it high on his agenda," van Eck said. "They don't need to really make a decision in August. It's sort of an artificial deadline, as was the one last week. So it is what it is. ... The SEC is just not moving fast on this."

In the meantime, van Eck will have his eye on how global banking regulators and institutions such as State Street are embracing digital assets.

Those kinds of trends may be even more important than the bitcoin ETF itself, said Ric Edelman, the No. 1 registered investment advisor in the United States and the founder of Edelman Financial Engines.

"This is the first major new asset class in 150 years. It is totally unlike anything else we've ever experienced, not like stocks or bonds or real estate or gold," Edelman said in the same "ETF Edge" interview.

"Over the next couple of years, it'll be a routine part of any diversified portfolio," he said. "But you can't do that until you understand what it is and how it works and how you fit it into an asset allocation strategy."

Edelman will leave his day-to-day post at Edelman Financial Engines this year to pursue other projects including growing his role at the RIA Digital Asset Council he founded, an initiative aimed at teaching investment advisors about the blockchain and digital assets.

"It'd be so much easier and simpler if there was a bitcoin ETF. That's not here and it's not going to be in the foreseeable near future, so you can't continue to sit on the sidelines waiting for it because by the time the SEC says yes to it, bitcoin might be 100,000," he said. "You're going to miss out, so, you've got to move on with the investment opportunities that do exist."

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