On Oct. 19, 2021, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) launched on the New York Stock Exchange. On its first day, the exchange-traded fund (ETF) saw an influx of close to $1 billion in natural volume and, within 24 hours, Bitcoin (BTC) itself would reach a new all-time high for its price in U.S. dollars. This comes a week after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission allowed the ETF’s application to expire, which effectively gave the okay for the product to move ahead.
This marks a significant step for the United States, but has also sent ripples into other markets globally. If BITO continues to be as well received as its first day would imply, then it is likely more and more will want to follow suit. The ETF offers exposure to derivatives from Bitcoin futures contracts, not Bitcoin itself. While purists may find this undesirable, it provides a notable degree of insulation for investors from Bitcoin’s inherent volatility. Other products in other markets with similar philosophies could help assuage the concerns that have kept institutional players at bay for years.
Will Hamilton is the head of trading and research at TCM Capital, which provides traditional capital markets and legal advisory services to the digital asset ecosystem. Will has been heavily involved in the cryptocurrency industry since 2016 and, prior to this, he worked at Pitt Capital Partners, the internal investment bank of Washington H. Soul Pattinson, an investment house based in Sydney.
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