ProShares ETF Begins Trading on NYSE



The U.S. Bitcoin ETF ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF began trading today at the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BITO. ProShares ETF is a futures-based ETF, tracking bitcoin prices through futures contracts traded at the CME. Its net asset value was $40 as of October 18, and Bitcoin and other altcoins have all been trading higher in wake of the launch.


Michael Sapir, CEO of ProShares, commented on the launch of the EFT, saying "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.”


Rather than being a direct investment in bitcoin, a futures-based EFT tracks futures contracts, which set a date in the future to buy or sell an asset. Needham analyst John Todaro is unsure of whether bitcoin investors will favor ETF exposure or exposure via public companies, but sees a lessened risk in bitcoin ETFs as they generally see less restrictive regulations.


In a report to CNBC, Matt Hougan, chief investment officer at asset management firm Bitwise Investments, said "The bitcoin market has matured to the point where the CME bitcoin futures market is actually the leading source of price discovery in the entire world. Prices move on the CME market before they move on Coinbase, Kraken, FTX … and, as a result, it satisfies the SEC hurdle for the potential approval of a spot-based ETF.”


ProShares is among three other bitcoin futures ETFs lined up for review by the SEC, including Valkyrie, Invesco and Van Eck. While the SEC has been challenging the crypto industry when it comes to granting approval, the potential for spot bitcoin EFT has been developing as these applications have been coming in.


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