Proshares Bitcoin futures ETF launches on Tuesday 19 October, the first of it’s kind in a historic move for the king of cryptocurrencies.
Under the ticker symbol BITO, the Proshares Bitcoin Futures ETF will trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and is the very first ETF in the world. In response, the price of Bitcoin has been steadily moving up and up over the last few days, inching towards a new all time high.
Proshares Bitcoin Futures ETF marks milestone in Bitcoin mainstream adoption
The E.T.F. will give investors exposure to Bitcoin without having to hold the cryptocurrency directly, via any ordinary brokerage account.
“We believe a multitude of investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts to launch one. BITO will open up exposure to bitcoin to a large segment of investors who have a brokerage account and are comfortable buying stocks and ETFs, but do not desire to go through the hassle and learning curve of establishing another account with a cryptocurrency provider and creating a bitcoin wallet or are concerned that these providers may be unregulated and subject to security risks.”ProShares CEO Michael Sapir
ProShares entered the ETF market back in 2006, and the company, along with its affiliates, currently manage more than $65 billion in assets. In July, ProShare affiliate ProFunds launched the first bitcoin-linked mutual fund in the United States.
In addition to the ProShares Bitcoin Futures ETF, Volt Equity has won approval from the SEC for the Bitcoin-focused Volt Crypto Industry Revolution and Tech ETF, which invests at least 80% of its net assets in “Bitcoin Industry Revolution Companies”. These companies are defined as those that ‘hold a majority of their net assets in the world’s largest cryptocurrency or derive a majority of their revenue or profits directly from bitcoin mining, lending, or transacting’.
Other companies are also vying to run Bitcoin ETF’s, including VanEck which had it’s application bumped earlier this year, alongside Invesco and Valykyrie.
“2021 will be remembered for this milestone,” said Michael Sapir, the C.E.O. of ProShares. Investors who are curious about crypto but hesitant to engage with unregulated crypto exchanges want “convenient access to Bitcoin in a wrapper that has market integrity,” he said. For nearly a decade, crypto entrepreneurs and traditional finance firms have sought permission to launch a Bitcoin E.T.F. in the U.S., but their applications have been delayed or denied by the S.E.C. Many remain pending.ProShares CEO Michael Sapir
However, the Proshares Bitcoin futures ETF falls short of what some Bitcoin enthusiasts want to see, namely a fund that holds crypto directly.
The SEC chairman, Gary Gensler, recently suggested that the agency might allow crypto ETF’s based on futures, which are essentially bets on Bitcoin’s price fluctuations rather than the underlying crypto itself. Approval for the ProShares E.T.F., which is based on Bitcoin futures that trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, won’t be announced directly by the regulator., but the firm’s final prospectus met with no opposition ahead of its effective deadline, and the NYSE is reported to be readying for the launch.