ProShares announces Tuesday listing of bitcoin futures ETF $BITO

ProShares announced it will launch its bitcoin futures-tied exchange traded fund (ETF) tomorrow, October 19.

Last Friday, the firm filed a post-effective amendment prospectus stating its intention to list on Oct. 18. Now, additional public documents say that "the Fund is scheduled to list and begin trading on the NYSE Arca on October 19, 2021."

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF will trade under the ticker $BITO. It will invest mostly in bitcoin futures, though it will not directly invest in the cryptocurrency. The SEC has yet to approve a spot-based bitcoin ETF, and many proposals have been cast aside due to concerns of price manipulation in the bitcoin spot market.

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The listing of a crypto-tied ETF in the U.S. has been much anticipated in the industry. ProShares CEO Michael L Sapir said BITO will lower the barrier to entry for those looking to gain crypto exposure.

“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," he said in a statement.

ProShares will be first to offer such a product in the U.S., winning the race to list started by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Gary Gensler, when he expressed an interest in looking at crypto product proposals filed under the Investment Act of 1940 tied to bitcoin-futures. Those still jockeying for position include Valkyrie, VanEck, Invesco and BlockFi, among others.

ProShares affiliate company, ProFunds, was also the first to list a bitcoin-based mutual fund.