ProShares set to launch the first US bitcoin-linked ETF

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US ETF issuer ProShares is set to launch the first bitcoin-linked ETF in the US on 19th October, with the ticker BITO.

Despite many believing that the ETF will debut as scheduled, a late decision by the SEC, which can happen right up until midnight on the 18th, could prevent the ETF going active.

The firm writes that the launch will mark a milestone for ETFs. BITO will offer investors an opportunity to gain exposure to bitcoin returns through a brokerage account. 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. 

“We believe a multitude of investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts to launch one,” says ProShares CEO Michael L. Sapir. 

“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.”

“BITO will continue the legacy of ETFs that provide investors convenient, liquid access to an asset class,” says Sapir. “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.”

BITO, or ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, will invest primarily in bitcoin futures contracts and does not directly invest in bitcoin. In July of this year, ProShares’ affiliate company, ProFunds, launched the first bitcoin-linked mutual fund in the US.

Ben Slavin, Global Head of ETFs, Asset Servicing at BNY Mellon, believes these latest developments are another significant step towards the acceptance of crypto ETFs and that Tuesday’s launch could precipitate a wave of similar filings.

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