The first U.S. bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund will launch on Tuesday, a milestone for the cryptocurrency industry, and others may soon follow.
The long-awaited ProShares ETF will offer exposure to bitcoin futures contracts — agreements to buy or sell the asset later for an agreed-upon price — rather than bitcoin itself.
“The ETF presents a disruption to what is available in the marketplace today,” said Karan Sood, CEO and managing director of Cboe Vest, a financial advisory platform in McLean, Virginia. “That’s what investors are excited about.”
Currently, investors may buy bitcoin through digital currency exchanges, but there are safety concerns as some worry about hackers or losing so-called private keys, which provide access to their assets.
Another option, bitcoin trusts, offer an easier way to add bitcoin to portfolios through brokerage or retirement accounts. But these assets may come with higher fees and values may not mirror the digital currency price changes.
While bitcoin futures ETFs don’t offer what the industry eventually wants — funds that invest directly in digital currency — it provides another choice as companies vie for the green light from the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch regular bitcoin ETFs.