Digital asset management firm Grayscale Investments has hired David LaValle, the former CEO of index provider Alerian, to be its ETF chief, according to Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein.
LaValle is Grayscale’s first hire for its exchange-traded fund business following the posting in the spring of several job listings by Grayscale for ETF specialists. (Grayscale is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk’s parent company.)
Before Alerian, LaValle spent time at various stock exchanges, built out ETF listings at Nasdaq and led a segment of State Street’s ETF business as head of the bank’s capital markets team.
“Starting 25-plus years ago, ETFs were focused on U.S. domestic equities, then moving into international equities, commodities, fixed income and sub-sectors of fixed income,” LaValle told CoinDesk. “Obviously now we're moving into the next wave of evolution which I'm extremely excited about.”
Sonnenshein didn’t comment on how many people Grayscale would hire for its ETF business (currently it has 10 other positions open), but noted that Grayscale’s ETF ambitions go beyond just converting GBTC into an ETF.
A bitcoin ETF would be a retail-accessible trading vehicle offering both individuals and institutions exposure to the bitcoin market without having to hold bitcoin itself. The industry has long clamored for an ETF, and several bitcoin ETF applications are under review at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
About a month after those job listings were created, Grayscale said in a blog post that it is “100% committed” to converting GBTC into an ETF.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.