United States Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler and ProShares head of investment strategy Simeon Hyman discussed the launch of the first Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund (ETF) with CNBC on Tuesday.
ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, also known as BITO, is based on CME Bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts. CNBC commentator Bob Pisani shared concerns from some investors that BTC futures could deviate from the BTC spot price.
“The futures market is a better place for price discovery,” said Hyman. “The CME futures market trades more volume than the largest U.S. crypto exchange. We launched a similar mutual fund on 7/28, and since we launched on Friday, the Bitcoin Reference Rate is up 52%, our BTC mutual fund is up 52% and the BTC Greyscale Trust is up 37%.”
The debut of BITO follows announcements that other BTC-linked funds, including Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF, are set to start trading on the Nasdaq. A new blockchain-industry-based fund, called the Volt Crypto Industry Revolution and Tech ETF, intends to begin trading soon as well.
Pisani asked Gensler about earlier comments where he said he did not have the same concerns with issuing BTC futures-linked funds versus a fully-linked BTC fund. Gensler confirmed:
“What we are trying to do is bring new projects into the investor-protected perimeter. BTC futures have been overseen by the SEC’s sister agency, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, for the past four years. You have something that’s been overseen for the past four years by a federal regulator, and it’s also been wrapped up in the SEC’s jurisdiction through the Investment Company Act of 1940.”
Hyman expressed his confidence in the new fund noting the history of BTC’s price action, U.S. securities laws, and the opportunity for a new opportunity for investors:
“There’s a lot of history here. We think it'll track quite well and, most importantly, we think that a combination of a regulated futures market and a 40-act ETF will really open up the opportunity to conveniently get Bitcoin exposure to a lot of folks who may have been waiting on the sidelines.”