Bitcoin futures ETF opens with gain and explosive trading volume

Marking a watershed moment for the crypto industry.
Image: AdobeStock

After years of delays and setbacks, the first Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund in the US, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, made its debut Tuesday, marking a watershed moment for the crypto industry.

The fund — trading under the ticker BITO — rose as much as 5.4% to $42.15 before paring gains. It has been long-awaited by both the crypto community and investors on Wall Street, many of whom have argued for years that a Bitcoin-centric exchange-traded fund has been overdue. The ProShares fund is based on futures contracts and was filed under mutual fund rules that SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has said provide “significant investor protections.”

Just 20 minutes into its trading premiere, about 6.4 million shares of BITO worth roughly $264 million changed hands, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin gained as much as 3.1% to trade around $63 274, slightly below its April record highs of just under $65 000.

“It’s an incredibly bullish week — there’s been really positive sentiment around the ETF in particular,” Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive officer of exchange FTX, said by phone.

It’s long been assumed that whoever receives approval first could stand to reap the greatest benefits — including industry recognition as well as potentially attracting huge amounts of cash. Some analysts are already bullish on BITO’s prospects — the futures-based Bitcoin ETF could attract more than $50 billion in inflows in its first year given the hype around it, according to noted Bitcoin bull Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors.

There are other applications for futures-based Bitcoin ETFs in the queue. Analysts are anticipating launches from issuers such as Valkyrie, whose Bitcoin Strategy exchange-traded fund, due to debut on Wednesday, will now trade under the ticker BTFD.

Meanwhile, Grayscale Investments LLC and the New York Stock Exchange filed to convert the world’s biggest Bitcoin fund, ticker GBTC, into an ETF, appealing to regulators for approval just as its wildly popular vehicle is beset with competition.

Market-watchers have a few measuring sticks with which to gauge BITO’s initial reception. The SPDR Gold Shares fund, ticker GLD, had the fastest-ever climb to $1 billion in assets under management, reaching the landmark in just three days, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. More recently, the VanEck Social Sentiment fund, ticker BUZZ, saw more than $400 million worth of shares traded on its debut earlier this year, one of the highest amounts ever for an ETF on its first day.

Bloomberg News reported last week that the US Securities and Exchange Commission wasn’t going to stand in the way of the launch of a futures-backed Bitcoin fund.

Gensler has been viewed as being more open-minded toward crypto than his predecessor, Jay Clayton was. Observers cite Gensler’s previous interest in the crypto world — he once taught a class at MIT’s Sloan School of Management called “Blockchain and Money.” And the chairman had over the summer signaled that regulators may be more open to a Bitcoin ETF if it were based around futures rather than the cryptocurrency itself.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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Going mainstream?? New asset class??

Nah…stay away. Like Buffet/Munger say – trading turds. Generates nothing, does nothing, zero controls, and the only value is what the next person is willing to pay for a piece of open source algorithim. As soon as the regulators step in…and make no mistake they will, it overs. Definitely trading tulips!

I hear you but a 2% “investment” I made in Crypto in the beginning of the year as part of my overall balanced portfolio has delivered over 30% of the profit.

Cut 1% commodities and 1% cash to fund the crypto.

I think its rather exiting but wont bet the farm.

Yes it could be replacing US/EU bonds that are no longer an asset class, rather a speculative investment.

Still think its a flower?

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