Maryland-based ProFunds is launching a publicly available mutual fund connected to the value of bitcoin (BTC).
The Bitcoin Strategy ProFund invests in bitcoin futures contracts, and seeks to track the digital currency’s price before fees. The total expense ratio of the ProFunds product is 1.15%, higher than the 1% exchange-traded funds (ETFs) usually charge.
The mutual fund is among the latest financial products offering exposure to the digital asset, without having to actually buy any directly. Everyday investors typically are much more familiar with mutual funds than the intricacies of the cryptocurrency market, ProFunds CEO Michael Sapir highlighted.
“Compared to directly buying Bitcoin, which may involve opening a new account with an unregulated party, this ProFund offers investors the opportunity to gain exposure to Bitcoin through a form and investment method that tens of millions of investors are familiar with,” he said.
Bitcoin ETP approval race
So far, over a dozen investment firms have already filed to launch Bitcoin ETFs, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to budge. In June, it postponed a decision on whether to approve a Bitcoin ETF for the second time in 2021. Wilshire Phoenix co-founder William Cai doesn’t expect the regulator will approve one until 2022 or 2023.
Cai has first-hand experience in dealing with the SEC and its crypto ETF approval process. The SEC rejected Wilshire Phoenix’s BTC ETF application in February 2020. This gave the fund provider insight into the agency approval process for a crypto ETF in the US.
Meanwhile, Craig Sal, vice-president of legal at Grayscale Investments, believes the SEC has an ulterior motive regarding the applications. He believes new Chairman Gary Gensler is using the approval process to gain more oversight over crypto exchanges. “Gensler wants to see regulation there, and if that happens, it seems like that would be what the SEC needs in order to approve a bitcoin ETF,” he said.