ProShares is set to launch a Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the New York Stock Exchange tomorrow, in what would be a first for institutional investors in the U.S., according to a new report by the New York Times.
The ETF will provide institutional investors and retail investors exposure to Bitcoin, who couldn’t legally or wouldn’t hold the asset otherwise, through a brokerage account. Of note, the SEC will not announce the approval formally, though because they have not opposed it ahead of the deadline, the Tuesday launch will proceed, the report said.
“When we have a Bitcoin ETF in the US, billions and billions of dollars will flow into Bitcoin that under no circumstances would have found their way into Bitcoin otherwise,” MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor said in September.
Michael Sapir, the C.E.O. of ProShares, agreed that in his opinion “2021 will be remembered for this milestone.” Sapir told the New York Times he believes traditional investors want “convenient access to Bitcoin in a wrapper that has market integrity.”
In anticipation of the news, Bitcoin has maintained a near all-time high price above $60,000 for the past four days. A Bitcoin ETF approval has been denied and put off by the SEC for nearly a decade, though it should be noted the ProShares ETF will not hold Bitcoin directly.
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has previously issued remarks that shed light on how the agency may act on the many exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals now up for review, signaling that those based on Bitcoin futures may have the highest chance of approval.
The remarks incited the filing of many Bitcoin Futures ETFs throughout August, including Galaxy Digital, VanEck, and Invesco. Indeed, the launch of a ProShares Bitcoin futures-based ETF opens the door for spot-based ETFs such as the one Grayscale is intending to file.
“This is an exciting step but not the last,” the New York Stock Exchanges’s head of exchange traded products, Douglas Yones, told DealBook.
A futures based ETF may not be the solution many Bitcoiners would advocate for, preferring to self custody their coins, but the question is not whether this or that investment vehicle is better, for many investors, a Bitcoin futures ETF approval is the difference between having some Bitcoin exposure and having none.
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Author: Alex McShane