Bitwise CIO ‘excited’ for a product that gives exposure to Ethereum DeFi


Cryptocurrency asset management firm Bitwise has hinted interest in offering an exchange-traded product (ETP) covering Ethereum’s ecosystem of layer 2 networks and applications, according to the firm’s chief investment officer.

“I’m somewhere between embarrassed and excited with the fact that Bitwise doesn’t have one, because I do think that would be a great product,” Matt Hougan explained in an interview with Forbes, published on March 31.

Hougan said he has “extraordinary confidence” that the Ethereum ecosystem will evolve but said it’s still up in the air which layer 2s and applications will come out on top.

“I have a hard time imagining what the future will be like three years from now when there are a hundred popular real-world decentralized applications that people are using and where the economics will flow, he said, adding: 

“So the best way to approach that would be to own them all, which would be a great product for what it’s worth.”

Hougan also reiterated that the market is also underestimating the importance of the Dencun upgrade by a factor of 10 or 20.

“It is a complete game changer, and I think the market hasn’t recognized that.”

Source: Matt Hougan

Hopes for Ether ETFs to launch in December

Meanwhile, Hougan said he was concerned the market may not be ready for a spot Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF) by May and hopes the United States securities regulator pushes back approval until December.

“It’s hard to get financial advisers to think about Ethereum right now” as TradFi is still digesting the recently approved spot Bitcoin ETFs, Hougan said.

“If you shove it down their throat in May, I’m not sure they will be [ready],” Hougan stressed.

“Part of me hopes that it’s December or something like that because I think that would be better for the market.”

Bitwise filed its S-1 and 19-b4 forms with the SEC to list a spot Ether ETF on March 28.

BlackRock, VanEck, ARK 21Shares, Fidelity, Grayscale Hashdex, Franklin Templeton and Invesco Galaxy are among the other applicants vying for SEC approval for a spot Ether ETF, and many commentators expect May to be a key period for possible mass approvals.

Related: 3 theories why the SEC may be eyeing down Ethereum: Crypto lawyer

However, some analysts’ odds for spot Ether ETF approval have continued to fall, citing the SEC’s apparent lack of willingness to engage with applicants in recent months.

But not everyone agrees. Last week, Grayscale’s chief legal officer Craig Salm said issues common to spot Ether ETFs “were figured out” with the spot Bitcoin ETFs — such as details of creation and redemption procedures, cash and in-kind models, asset protection, loss prevention, and custody.

Bitwise is one of 11 spot Bitcoin ETF issuers. Its Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (BITB) has amassed over $1.6 billion in flows — the fourth most behind BlackRock’s IBIT, Fidelity’s FBTC and Ark 21Shares’ ARKB, according to BitMEX Research, citing March 28 data.

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