ProShares’ bitcoin futures ETF to go live tomorrow

The new fund will be listed under the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ticker BITO

The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street                                 
The New York Stock Exchange – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

ProShares, a provider of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), will be launching the first-ever bitcoin futures ETF on Tuesday 19 October.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the fund’s launch despite deciding to delay making a decision on other bitcoin ETFs.

The ETF will be listed under the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ticker BITO. ProShares declared that “BITO’s launch will mark a milestone for ETFs”.

The bitcoin futures ETF will offer investors the opportunity to gain exposure to bitcoin returns through a brokerage account. ProShares said: “BITO can be bought and sold like a stock and eliminates the need for an account at a cryptocurrency exchange and for a crypto wallet.”

“BITO will open up exposure to bitcoin”

Michael L Sapir, CEO of ProShares, said: “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,” he continued.

“BITO will continue the legacy of ETFs that provide investors convenient, liquid access to an asset class. 1993 is remembered for the first equity ETF, 2002 for the first bond ETF, and 2004 for the first gold ETF. 2021 will be remembered for the first cryptocurrency-linked ETF.”

Gensler hinted that bitcoin futures ETFs would be approved

Comments made by SEC chair Gary Gensler at September’s Financial Times Future of Asset Management North America conference made it clear that funds linked to the futures market were more likely to win regulatory approval than any linked to the underlying asset itself.

Gensler said that a bitcoin futures ETF would be more likely to be approved, due to enhanced protection for investors. The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF will invest primarily in bitcoin futures contracts and does not directly invest in bitcoin.

In July this year, ProShares affiliate company ProFunds launched the first bitcoin-linked mutual fund in the US.

Further reading: Bitcoin futures: What are they and how do they work?

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