VanEck to Join ProShares in Launching a Bitcoin Futures ETF

The two funds would be the first bitcoin-linked ETFs to begin trading in the U.S., opening the door for a much broader base of investors.

Oct 20, 2021 at 1:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 21, 2021 at 4:47 p.m. UTC

VanEck will join ProShares in launching a bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) next week.

The company revealed it had secured approval to launch its bitcoin-linked ETF in a post-effective filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), indicating the SEC has given the company permission to launch its fund after Oct. 23, a Saturday. Trading will begin “as soon as practicable after the effective date,” which suggests Monday, Oct. 25.

“The Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund (’ETF’) that seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing, under normal circumstances, in standardized, cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts (’Bitcoin Futures’) traded on commodity exchanges registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (’CFTC’), such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the ‘CME’). The Fund does not invest in bitcoin or other digital assets directly,” the filing noted.

The SEC greenlit the first bitcoin futures ETF last week, according to a similar regulatory filing ProShares filed late Friday. The product began trading on Tuesday, immediately becoming one of the largest ETF debuts in U.S. history.

ProShares and VanEck’s approvals mark the first time U.S. investors can buy and trade shares of an ETF directly linked to bitcoin. The U.S. follows in the footsteps of Canada and certain European nations, which have allowed bitcoin ETFs and other exchange-traded products to go live already.

Canada allowed physically backed bitcoin ETFs to launch earlier this year, however, while the U.S. is still only allowing futures-linked ETFs to go live. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who opened the door for these products in August, has said in multiple public statements that he believes ETFs filed under the Investment Company Act of 1940, which govern the futures ETFs, provide stronger investment protections than the Securities Act of 1933, which governs physical ETFs.

Bitcoin’s price has risen in anticipation of the launch of bitcoin futures ETFs, as well as following the successful debut of the ProShares product on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the price of bitcoin hit a new all-time high above $65,000.

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