NEW YORK (AP) — Interested in Bitcoin but don’t want to open a crypto trading account? Wall Street has something for you.
ProShares said Monday it plans to launch the country’s first exchange-traded fund linked to Bitcoin. The ETF with the ticker symbol “BITO” is expected to begin trading Tuesday, barring any opposition from regulators.
It’s the latest milestone for Bitcoin and for the ETF industry in general. In a statement, ProShares CEO Michael Sapir compared the launch of a crypto-linked ETF to the 1993 launch of the first stocks ETF and the 2002 rollout of the initial bond ETF. The U.S. market for ETFs has grown to more than $5.4 trillion and they’re owned by roughly 9% of all the nation’s households, according to the Investment Company Institute.
Cryptocurrencies, meanwhile, have exploded into a nearly $2.5 trillion industry after the creation of thousands of digital currencies. Bitcoin is the biggest of them all, with a total value of nearly $1.2 trillion. But like much in the crypto world, the Bitcoin-linked ETF is a bit complicated.
The fund won’t invest directly in Bitcoin itself. Instead, it will focus on futures related to Bitcoin, a market that’s overseen by U.S. regulators and can be complicated in its own right. That means investors need to be particularly aware of what they’re buying, and how it’s likely to perform.
Here’s a look at what the ETF does and doesn’t