Valkyrie’s ETF Debut Soured by Falling Bitcoin Market

A new exchange-traded fund is joining the race to attract stock market investors looking for bitcoin exposure. But out of the gate on Friday, the ETF’s share price was tracking bitcoin lower.

Oct 22, 2021 at 1:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 22, 2021 at 8:28 p.m. UTC

Valkyrie Investments’ bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) started trading early Friday, after winning the blessing of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier in the week.

The new Valkyrie fund, officially the called the Bitcoin Strategy ETF, went live on the Nasdaq under the ticker BTF when stock markets opened Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET, but premarket trading started earlier.

But after roughly a few hours of trading, the stock was changing hands at $24.01, down 4% from the initial price, according to the Nasdaq.

The early performance appeared to track a decline in bitcoin’s price, which was lower for the second straight day, around $60,095 – slipping further from the all-time high close to $67,000 earlier in the week. Valkyrie had recovered by the end of trading to finish at $25 per share.

BITO, the ProShares ETF, also fell Friday, down 4.4% on the day to $39.04 a share.

After months of waiting, the cryptocurrency industry is finally getting the U.S. ETFs that fund executives have long sought – as a way of attracting money from investors who want exposure to bitcoin price via the stock market. While cryptocurrency analysts say the new offerings, focused on bitcoin futures contracts, are less ideal than an ETF backed by bitcoin directly, the reception so far among investors has been overwhelming.

The first U.S. bitcoin futures to go live, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (stock ticker BITO), launched Tuesday and attracted more than $1 billion of assets in just two days, the fastest-ever ETF to hit the milestone. VanEck’s bitcoin futures ETF offering is slated to trade starting early next week.

Bitcoin spot markets rallied to new all-time highs Wednesday amid the filings parade. Bitcoin-linked ETFs are seen as an easy way for traditional investors to chase crypto market exposure from their brokerage accounts.

ProShares’ juggernaut bitcoin futures fund debut indicated interest runs deep. The first-ever U.S. bitcoin-linked ETF hauled in $570 million of assets in its first day, with over $1 billion in trading, one of the most successful ETF launches ever.

That’s complicated the playbook for all other bitcoin futures ETF hopefuls, including Valkyrie.

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Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Markets team.