A Bitcoin futures ETF has now been approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission which will begin trading on Wednesday, marking the latest milestone in the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies.
ProShares got the green light to debut a Bitcoin exchange traded fund which is expected to open up indirect investments in Bitcoin for customers that otherwise are unable or unwilling to participate directly on crypto exchanges – including both retail and certain professional investors and fund managers.
In a statement, ProShares described its new product as a Bitcoin-linked ETF which will trade with the New York ticker BITO.
The company said BITO will allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin returns conveniently, through a brokerage account, adding that “it 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 is among a growing number of proposed ETF products that have awaited SEC approval for some time.
ProShares chief executive Michael Sapir said, “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.”
Bitcoin prices have risen up close to all-time highs in recent days, partly in anticipation of the ETF breakthrough and partly as an extension to the recent bull run.
On Tuesday morning, Bitcoin was priced at US$62,301 which gives the cryptocurrency a total value of US$1.17trn.
A number of cryptocurrency ETF products already exist outside the United States.