Morgan Stanley, BlockFi Execs Disagree on Spot Bitcoin ETFs

Such products, not yet approved in the US, come with risks but are a good access point for institutions, they say

article-image

Amy Oldenburg, head of emerging markets equity at Morgan Stanley | Photo by Lauren Sopourn

share

key takeaways

  • Head of emerging markets equity at Morgan Stanley Investment Management encourages self-custody of digital assets
  • BlockFi’s institutional relationship management head notes crypto custody challenges for hedge funds, asset managers and pensions

The head of emerging markets equity at Morgan Stanley Investment Management is not bullish on spot bitcoin ETFs, noting the importance of self-custodying digital assets. 

Amy Oldenburg noted during a panel at Blockworks’ Permissionless event in Palm Beach Thursday that ETFs investing directly in bitcoin are not necessarily a “solution” for greater adoption in the space. 

“If you lived in Russia earlier this year, and you held a spot Bitcoin ETF, how valuable was that to you? It had no value,” she said. “So we need to be able to find solutions that we can give people access to those underlying assets and let them be able to hold those and travel and transfer with those without having a centralized custodian.

Fellow panelist Jessica Raybeck, head of institutional relationship management at BlockFi, said that though Oldenburg’s concern was valid, many institutions don’t have another access point. 

“Custody is really hard for a hedge fund, asset manager or pension,” Raybeck explained. “But you know what’s pretty easy for them? An ETF or any other listed asset.”

While spot crypto exchange-traded products have become available in places such as Canada, Europe, and most recently Australia, the SEC has not yet allowed a spot bitcoin ETF in the US

Raybeck said that institutions are still figuring out key shards, for example, or the way to handle the 24/7 nature of crypto markets, noting that navigating the crypto space can be difficult. 

“Do I think we’re gonna evolve past that? I think yes,” she said of spot bitcoin ETFs. “But we have to really embrace the fact that that has been a huge [way] where people can get access to crypto.”


Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg

Research

In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.

article-image

The stock price jump comes after Coinbase reported ending its seven-quarter run of net losses during the fourth quarter

article-image

BUZZ holds shares of Coinbase, Robinhood and MicroStrategy

article-image

Opinion: Even though I didn’t pay for my “Diamond Hands” burger with BTC, don’t let that fool you into thinking that crypto’s development is futile

article-image

The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally

article-image

While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders

article-image

Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume