Grayscale has hired David LaValle as it looks to ramp up its ETF team, although it’s unlikely the SEC will approve the formation of a bitcoin ETF in the United States anytime soon.
Lavalle, a former CEO at independent index provider Alerian will function as the global head of exchange-traded funds at Grayscale, the firm behind the largest cryptocurrency fund. He will oversee the conversion of the $25 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF.
The company described the new hire as someone with a “diverse background that spans the entire ETF landscape.”
“Grayscale is 100% committed to converting our investment products, including Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), into ETFs,” CEO Michael Sonnenshein said as part of the announcement on Wednesday. “Dave is a pioneering leader in the ETF space with expertise spanning critical components of the ETF ecosystem, including product development, distribution, capital markets, trading, and regulation. He will accelerate Grayscale’s ability to realize our commitment to ETFs, and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to the Grayscale team, and the digital asset ecosystem, more broadly.”
Grayscale has been stepping up efforts as it pertains to ETFs despite the SEC taking its time when it comes to allowing crypto into the structure. Their hiring of LaValle isn’t the only move in that direction either as they’re looking to add at least 10 more employees to posts relating to ETFs.
“There’s been a fundamental shift in investor preferences, directly impacting wealth managers and the asset management industry. I’m delighted by the opportunity to leverage my broad experience to work with Michael and the Grayscale team to advance this digital evolution,” LaValle offered. “Grayscale is an unrivaled leader in the digital asset space and I am eager to work with the team to meet investor demand for single-asset trusts and diversified funds, while developing the future of digital currency-based ETFs.”
Last month, Grayscale announced plans to partner up with Bank of New York Mellon for ETF services on the back of the conversion. This makes their intention to become a leading ETF issuer, the way LaVall sees it.
“We’re focused on creating a number of products to be a world-class ETF issuer,” he was quoted as saying. “We’re in a unique position. We actually have a product in the marketplace, so it puts us in a great spot.”