Blockchain ETF Pioneer Expects Bitcoin-Linked Fund by Mid-Year

(Bloomberg) -- Crypto fans rejoice: a Bitcoin ETF could be just around the corner after all, according to the manager of one of the first blockchain-focused exchange-traded funds.

“Especially given this negative volatility in Bitcoin, the SEC is wiping their brow a little bit here,” Eric Ervin, co-founder of Reality Shares Inc., said on Bloomberg Television, referring to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “The more that starts to settle out, I think we could actually see an ETF in the second quarter.”

A fund that buys futures contracts on the cryptocurrency will likely be first out of the blocks, he said.

Bitcoin fans and ETF providers alike lamented a setback for cryptocurrency funds last week when the SEC told several wannabe issuers to pull their planned ETFs. Concerns about how to value volatile digital coins and liquidity prompted the move, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. Bitcoin tumbled below $10,000 on Wednesday before recovering.

Ervin manages the Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF, which has seen more than $12 million of shares traded since it debuted Wednesday. That’s however less than a second blockchain-focused ETF, the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF, which has turned over more than $21 million after also starting to trade today.

The firms behind both ETFs, known by their respective tickers BLCN and BLOK, had to weather their own regulatory storm last week when the SEC encouraged them to drop the word “blockchain” from their names just days before launch. Both did so and listed as planned. But Ervin predicts another name change as regulators grow more comfortable with the technology.

“As all this settles down, and people start to realize, ‘Oh, this is like the internet!,’ it becomes ubiquitous,” he said. “You know, it’s not cryptocurrencies, it’s blockchain technology. And these are the companies that are investing in and using blockchain technology, so let’s call it a blockchain technology ETF.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.