First Bitcoin-Futures ETF Launches on NYSE

The ProShares fund aims to provide Bitcoin exposure without actually owning it

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The first Bitcoin-futures ETF in the U.S. started trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, giving people an alternative way to participate in the crypto craze. 

ProShares, which specializes in exchange traded funds, said ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (ticker symbol BITO) invests in Bitcoin futures, not actual Bitcoin, meaning it will attempt to mimic the price movements of Bitcoin without having to own it. Futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell an asset on a specific date or during a specific month. Bitcoin futures are traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The Bitcoin Strategy ETF was up nearly 5% in its first day of trading. The new fund is targeted at people who are looking to get exposure to Bitcoin but don’t necessarily want to undergo the process of setting up separate accounts or digital wallets to purchase it directly. So far, their only other options were to directly purchase Bitcoin futures or invest in trusts such as the one offered by Grayscale. 

Bitcoin futures are regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission while the ProShares ETF comes under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Commission. As with other ETFs, ProShares needs to disclose risks, portfolio, and other information on a regular basis. 

Although this is the first Bitcoin-related ETF approved by the SEC, it is unlikely to be the last. There are several applications in the queue at the SEC, including ones from Valkyrie and Kryptoin. 

“ETFs are familiar, liquid, and convenient for investors,” said Steve Cohen, managing director at ProShares. “People can even add a little to their retirement accounts, simply and conveniently.”  

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