Not all hope is lost for bitcoin ETF believers, Grayscale Investments says.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler dampened excitement around possible approval for a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund last week, saying digital currencies need much more regulation before entering the ETF universe.

But for the firm behind the hugely popular Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), Genslers comments came as an affirmation, Grayscales global head of ETFs David LaValle told CNBCs ETF Edge on Monday.

We read Chair Genslers comments to be very positive ... because the story is no longer if theres going to be a bitcoin ETF but when theres going to be a bitcoin ETF, LaValle said.

Grayscale plans to convert GBTC into an ETF when the SEC warms to the idea — but LaValle recognized that will require regulatory oversight, just like with any other asset class that eventually evolved into an ETF.

When the SEC gets comfortable that theres enough transparency, enough maturity, in the underlying market, were going to see an ETF, he said.

The recent approval of a bitcoin futures-based mutual fund from ProShares is a step in the right direction, ProShares head of investment strategy Simeon Hyman said in the same interview.

The Bitcoin Strategy ProFund (BTCFX) is up nearly 14% since its July launch and is primarily invested in front-month bitcoin futures contracts, which tend to be highly correlated to bitcoins spot price.

The advantage of this approach is clear. The futures market is regulated. So, youve got the CME [Chicago Mercantile Exchange], the CFTC [Commodity Futures Trading Commission], youve got the clearinghouse, and then youre in a mutual fund that people understand well and you can get in and out every day at NAV [net asset value], Hyman said, calling the fund a really important access point for investors.

If the SEC decides to approve a futures-based bitcoin ETF first, then ProShares would likely be in the sweet spot. But either way, the market for bitcoin-based products is still in its early innings, Hyman said.

There will be a myriad of ways for folks to get exposure over time, he said. When those opportunities avail themselves, well be exploring them very carefully.

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