ETF Edge

'I'm still very bullish' on a pure-play bitcoin ETF in early 2022, Gemini executive says

Pure-play bitcoin ETF is imminent, Gemini's global head of business development says
Pure-play bitcoin ETF is imminent: Gemini's global head of business development

A pure-play bitcoin exchange-traded fund may not be as far off as some think, according to one cryptocurrency executive.

With its approval of three bitcoin futures ETFs, the Securities and Exchange Commission signaled that it is embracing crypto as an investable asset class, Gemini's David Abner told CNBC's "ETF Edge" this week.

"The SEC is taking these progressive steps to move us forward," said Abner, who is global head of business development at the crypto exchange.

"I thought we were going to be there by the end of this year," he said, adding that he was surprised that the SEC rejected VanEck's bid for a physical bitcoin-based ETF.

"I'm still very bullish," Abner said. "I think they are just sort of waiting to take that next step. They're potentially looking for some greater, clearer regulatory guidelines around the industry, so maybe we see that in Q1 and then we see an ETF right after it. I think there's a little bit of movement in that direction."

ETF Trends CEO Tom Lydon was less optimistic about the SEC's timeline but flagged several catalysts that could benefit hopeful ETF providers.

"For the average advisor out there that is managing a diversified portfolio for their clients, not being able to buy bitcoin or a spot bitcoin ETF on a brokerage platform is somewhat of a handcuff," he said in the same interview.

"If your clients go rogue and they go off and open up a Coinbase account, they potentially could shoot themselves in the foot as far as the volatility," he said.

With many expecting the price of bitcoin to rise to $100,000 in 2022, "glowing demand" could give way to louder calls for ETFs that directly track the digital asset, Lydon said.

"I think this is something that the advisor community is pushing for. I think we'll eventually see it. I wish it was going to be Q1 but I would say fingers crossed by the end of '22," he said.