ProShares bitcoin futures ETF sees historic nearly $1 billion trading day

ProShares' bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) listed on the New York Stock Exchange today, and it was welcomed with explosive interest. 

"It absolutely obliterated," said James Seyffart, Bloomberg Intelligence ETF Analyst.

At the time of writing, volumes for the so-called ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) stood near $1 billion after its inaugural trading day. At last check, volumes stood at $999.473 million. 

Many expected a massive launch, but Seyffart told the Block that the volumes blew away expectations. Bloomberg Intelligence was expecting the product to top the launch of the VanEck Social Sentiment ETF ($BUZZ), according to Seyffart. $BUZZ did more than $400 million on its opening day, but ProShares' $BITO traded nearly twice that.

Seyffart said there were a few main takeaways from the launch outside the high demand for the product in the market. There weren't many block trades, or large orders, he said, which suggests most of the action was dominated by retail.

"The thing traded super tight and was within a penny wide pretty much the entire day," said Seyffart. "And it traded extremely close to the underlying futures and bitcoin itself."

The launch of a bitcoin ETF has been long awaited by the industry. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to allow an ETF trading spot, but today's launch of a futures product is a huge step for the ETF industry, according to Douglas Yones, Head of Exchange Traded Products at the NYSE.

ProShares is the first to offer a crypto ETF product in the U.S., winning the race to list. Earlier this year, SEC Commissioner Gary Gensler expressed an interest in reviewing crypto proposals for products filed under the Investment Act of 1940 tied to CME bitcoin futures. ProShares was the first to make it to listing, but there are still a number of issuers jockeying for position. These include  Valkyrie, VanEck, Invesco and BlockFi, among others.

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Aislinn Keely joined The Block in the summer of 2019. She is a member of the outlet's policy team, holding down the legal beat. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV, where she reported and anchored newscasts in addition to some podcast work. Aislinn is a proud Fordham Ram and editor-in-chief emerita of its newspaper. When she isn't writing or reporting, Aislinn is running and rock climbing.