Invesco is doubling down on its push to become a pioneer in the yet-to-launch crypto exchange-traded fund universe.
The fourth-largest U.S. ETF issuer said Wednesday that it's partnering with Michael Novogratz's Galaxy Digital Holdings to develop a "comprehensive suite of U.S.-listed, physically backed, digital asset" funds.
The venture reflects Invesco's ambition to be at the forefront of crypto ETFs, which have yet to receive the regulatory greenlight from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Invesco is one of at least a dozen issuers with applications to launch such funds as demand from investors, both retail and institutional, balloons.
The crypto industry is reminiscent of the ETF business' beginnings and is a strong opportunity for growth, said Invesco's John Hoffman, who heads the firm's ETF and index-fund business.
"We've spent a lot of effort over the years looking at the developments in blockchain, really as a technology, and cryptocurrency," Mr. Hoffman said in an interview. "For somebody who's been in the ETF business for a very long time, it's incredibly similar to the early days of ETFs — the late 1990s, early 2000s. And so we're really excited to really focus on this market — and what may be a very large market."
The SEC has taken a cautious approach toward cryptocurrencies under Chairman Gary Gensler's leadership, though he has signaled an openness to ETFs based on crypto futures. Invesco and ProShares are among the issuers that have filed applications for such a fund.
Should the SEC approve the structure, Mr. Hoffman anticipates the crypto ETF market could develop similarly to the universe of commodity-tracking funds. "We see a similar opportunity as this market expands and as this asset class opens up," he said.