First U.S. Bitcoin ETF Launches on Tuesday From ProShares

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In Brief
  • BITO becomes the first bitcoin-linked ETF offered in the U.S.

  • ProShares’ greenlight from the SEC is a major industry morale boost after years of waiting and recent industry crackdowns.

  • The newest bitcoin financial offering comes as the price of the cryptocurrency nears its ATH.

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ProShares is the first company with the green light from the SEC to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

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The ETF will trade under the label BITO and will expand options for bitcoin access through a brokerage account. Without the need of a crypto wallet or any direct interaction with the crypto market, the BITO ETF can be bought and sold like a stock. 

ProShares announced the launch of the ETF on the New York Stock Exchange for Tuesday, October 19, 2021. After years of deliberation, the green light from the SEC marks a huge milestone and validation  for the crypto industry.

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According to Michael L. Sapir, the CEO of ProShares, said the bitcoin-linked ETF already has investors lined up. “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.”

Moreover, BITO, also known as the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, will invest foremost in bitcoin futures contracts. In late July of this year, the affiliate company of ProShares, ProFunds, launched the first ever bitcoin-linked mutual fund in the U.S. Like the ETF, the mutual fund provides more traditional investors the ability to dip into crypto with little effort. 

A Win for Crypto 

Recently the crypto industry faced increased skepticism and crackdowns from officials as they mull regulations. The SEC has taken legal action against multiple large crypto-centric companies such as Ripple and BitConnect.  Moreover, applications for SEC approval of crypto-related ETFs piled up

Although ProShares removed their ethereum-linked ETF filed in August, their recent filing is an achievement for the crypto space. 

Sapir says the development marks this year as a financial legacy moment. “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,” he said.

In addition, the BTC-ETF news comes as bitcoin nears its all-time high price point and pushes above $57,000.

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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