Two years ago, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), the first US exchange-traded fund (ETF) linked to Bitcoin (BTC), made history by reaching $1 billion in assets faster than any other ETF.
Today, BITO is at $1.4 billion and follows BTC in futures.
However, the future of BITO and other BTC futures ETFs is uncertain, as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set a deadline of January 10 to likely approve pending applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs.
Spot Bitcoin ETFs are expected to provide a cheaper way for investors to gain exposure to BTC. Industry experts believe regulators will approve spot BTC ETFs in early 2024. Will Peck, head of digital assets at WisdomTree, which has filed to launch a spot BTC ETF, believes the launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs could spell the end of BTC futures ETFs.
Despite the looming threat of spot Bitcoin ETFs, some believe futures ETFs and spot ETFs can coexist. ProShares CEO Michael Sapir, whose company has not filed for a spot product, argues that risk-averse investors will turn to products like BITO.
In support of the futures model, he points to the supervision of the futures market by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the fund management services provided by a known financial giant.
Peck also stated that Bitcoin is already available for purchase by anyone with investable assets and the technical ability to set up a digital wallet. According to Peck, this will alleviate expectations of sudden high demand for spot BTC ETFs.
*This is not investment advice.