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First Bitcoin ETFs to Go Public

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The exchange traded funds (ETF) linked to bitcoin futures will debut on the market this Tuesday, a “milestone” for cryptocurrency, which has generated great expectation and has brought the most widely used virtual currency close to its all-time highs.

The specialized provider of this type of financial product ProShares announced today that it will list this fund, called Bitcoin Strategy ETF, tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, after receiving the green light from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday, an important institutional backer.

The regulator had been reluctant for years to approve any bitcoin-related index fund, and the difference is that this new product does not invest directly in the cryptocurrency but in the futures contracts associated with it.

In August, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said he was open to giving the green light to cryptocurrency futures contracts, as their trading goes through regulated platforms, in this case on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The index fund, which will trade under the label BITO, “offering investors an opportunity to gain exposure to bitcoin returns in a convenient, liquid and transparent way” in which it can be bought and sold as if it were a stock, the company explained in a statement.

ProShares CEO Michael L Sapir said BITO will mark a “milestone for ETFs” and is especially interesting because it saves investors “the hassle” of creating a bitcoin portfolio at a cryptocurrency provider for those concerned about its regulation and risk.

“We believe a multitude of investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts,” added the executive of this company, which has been offering a variety of index funds since 2006.

In that sense, Sapir highlighted that this year “will be remembered for the first index fund linked to cryptocurrencies,” just as 1993 is remembered for the first fund linked to securities, 2002 for the first one related to bonds or 2004 for the pioneer of gold.

On Monday, bitcoin hovered around $62,000, close to its peak of almost $65,000 recorded last April, due to the imminent IPO of this product. Since the beginning of the year, the bitcoin has soared more than 110 %.

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