SkyBridge raises $100M for Algorand fund and files for crypto company ETF

Alternative investment firm SkyBridge capital hopes to expand its crypto offerings, filing for a crypto-focused exchange-traded fund (ETF) on Tuesday and revealing plans for an Algorand fund at this week’s SALT conference in New York.

Speaking to CNBC, SkyBridge founder and former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said the firm had raised more than $100 million toward the newly announced Algorand fund. He added that the firm currently holds roughly $700 million worth of crypto assets.

Scaramucci asserted that “crypto is here to stay,” adding that regulators must act “very quickly” if they intend to stem the snowballing adoption of the technology.

“This is a lot like Uber — the regulators wanted to knock Uber out of business, but the people wanted Uber and the people won,” he said, adding:

“Before long there will be 200 million [crypto] users in the United States.” 

Scaramucci’s comments come as many onlookers fear a regulatory crackdown spearheaded by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Despite expressing disagreement with SEC head Gary Gensler’s recent characterization of the crypto sector as being “rife with fraud and abuse,” Scaramucci highlighted his appreciation for the position Gensler is in.

He’s got a lot of people in Congress that don’t fully understand it. There’s a lot of negativity. I would implore people like Senator Elizabeth Warren to come to a conference like this and sit with people in the industry so she can understand what the protocols actually are […] I think we’ve got to get everybody up the curve in terms of education.”

However, other finance magnates speaking at the event do not share Scaramucci’s optimism regarding the ability for crypto adoption to outrun the grasp of heavy-handed regulations.

Ray Dalio, the founder of the world’s third-largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, predicted the increasing popularity of digital assets will draw the ire of lawmakers.

“At the end of the day if it’s really successful, […] they will try to kill it. And I think they will kill it because they have ways of killing it,” he told CNBC.

Despite his outlook, Dalio slammed cash as “trash,” adding that all monetary assets offering an alternative to cash are “worth considering,” including Bitcoin.

“I think it’s worth considering all the alternatives to cash and all the alternatives to the other financial assets. Bitcoin is a possibility. I have a certain amount of money in Bitcoin,” he said.

Related: SEC threatens to sue Coinbase over crypto yield program it considers a security

Skybridge filed with the SEC for a crypto-focused ETF on Sept. 14. If approved, the First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF would invest at least 80% of its net assets into leading companies representing the crypto industry ecosystem, however would not seek direct exposure to cryptocurrency.

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