Bill Barhydt, founder of bitcoin wallet app Abra, said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) within a year once the financial regulator feels comfortable with the caliber of the applicants.
A bitcoin ETF would allow investors to purchase bitcoin through funds listed on a regulated, legacy stock exchange. Like the bitcoin futures contracts that came before it, a bitcoin ETF is seen by many as the bridge that will encourage institutional investors to cross over to the emerging crypto market.
Speaking on CNBC's The Coin Rush, Barhydt said the SEC’s refusal to approve any bitcoin ETF application is down to the individuals filing them, who he claims "don't fit the mold" of those the SEC is “used to approving."
Barhydt seems to suggest that in order for an exchange or financial organization to receive approval for a bitcoin ETF, the entity has to be one that "looks, feels and smells" like something that the SEC is accustomed to.
"I used to work for Goldman Sachs, but if you look at how I'm dressed you probably wouldn't know it. So I probably, unfortunately, couldn't go like I am here to a meeting at the SEC to say I'm applying for the ability to issue an ETF," he added.
He believes, however, that the SEC will approve a bitcoin ETF next year as there is just too "much demand for it" from the community.
"It's going to happen in the next year; I would actually make a bet on it," he noted.
Barhydt's comments come on the heels of a statement made by Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera Capital, who said a bitcoin ETF approval will take "quite a long time," as cryptocurrency adoption is still in its infancy. Morehead also advised investors to focus on bullish news such as the launch of ICE's digital platform for bitcoin futures.
Applications for ETFs have been met with resistance at every turn. The SEC has rejected two funds proposed by the Winklevoss Twins, extended its decision period on the listing of the VanEck/SolidX fund until September 30, 2018, and shot down a host of other funds filed by ProShares, GraniteShares and Direxion. This last round of rejections, however, is pending review by the SEC’s higher-ups, as the decision was made at the staffing level and has been picked up for review by the Commission itself.