SEC Rejects Bitcoin ETFs Because Applicants ‘Don’t Look the Part’: Abra CEO

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September 4, 2018 11:15 PM UTC

The founder of Bitcoin payment startup Abra, Bill Barhydt has stated that he believes that a bitcoin ETF will be approved within a year, as long as the SEC feels sufficiently comfortable with the caliber of applicants trying to get permission.

Speaking to CNBC, Barhydt stated that the SEC’s refusal to grant permission to a series of bitcoin ETF applications so far is mainly down to the fact that the people making the applications “don’t fit the mold” of personalities the commission is used to engaging with.

“Look at how I am dressed”

Ahead of the September 30 decision by the SEC on the ETF application submitted by VanEck, Barhydt remarked that so far, applicants have not met the SEC’s specifications in terms of financial industry profile and personality archetype, which makes the permission all the more difficult to obtain.

In his words:

“I think the issue with the SEC, quite frankly, is that the people who are doing the applications don’t fit mold of who the SEC is used to approving. 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.”

While a number of ETF proposals have been rejected out of hand by the SEC  including notably the fund proposed by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the commission’s decision to postpone a verdict on VanEck’s proposed ETF has left disappointed bitcoin bulls with some hope that there might be a bitcoin ETF approval this year.

Some believe that a cash-redeemed bitcoin investment instrument like an ETF is the lever that will finally open the bitcoin market to large scale entry, particularly by institutional investors who have not yet made the jump. A bitcoin ETF theoretically could help bitcoin and the wider crypto market achieve a valuation that only mass adoption could otherwise achieve.

According to Barhydt, for the SEC to approve a bitcoin ETF, the applicant will need to “look, smell and feel” the way the commission wants them to. Delving further, he opined that an application from a reputable financial institution with some substantial measure of pedigree will stand a bigger chance than a smaller firm or a startup.

Pressed on when he thinks the SEC will eventually approve an ETF, Barhydt stated that his money would be on that happening within a year.

In his words:

“It’s going to happen in the next year, I would actually make a bet on it,” he said. “There is too much demand for it.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified: May 20, 2020 6:02 PM UTC

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David Hundeyin @DavidHundeyin

I am a busy Nigerian writer, journalist and writer with an interest in tech and finance. When I'm not contributing to CCN and traveling around Africa, you can catch me contributing to CNN Africa, or in the writers room at 'The Other News', Nigeria's weekly answer to 'The Daily Show' with nearly 2 million viewers. My work on 'The Other News' was featured in the New Yorker Magazine, and that was then cited in the Washington Post so I'm not sure that counts as a feature but I'll definitely mention it too! I have been nominated by the US State Department to take part in the 2019 Edward R. Murrow Program for journalists under the International Visitors Leadership Program. I also like hamsters. You can reach me on Twitter at _David_Hundeyin