VanEck to Launch Bitcoin Futures ETF ‘XBTF’ Next Week After SEC Rejects Spot Offering

Chicago-based CBOE exchange says in website posting that the VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF will start trading Tuesday under the ticker symbol “XBTF.”

Nov 14, 2021 at 6:06 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 16, 2021 at 9:15 p.m. UTC

The investment firm VanEck’s bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) is set to debut on the Chicago-based CBOE exchange next week, going live after delays since winning U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approval in late October.

The CBOE said in a notice on its website that the new VanEck Bitcoin Strategy Fund will start trading under the ticker symbol “XBTF” on Tuesday, with a new-issue auction to open trading around 9:30 a.m. ET followed by dissemination of index data.

VanEck confirmed the planned launch in a press release Monday.

The launch date announcement comes just after the SEC late last week rejected VanEck’s proposal for a “spot bitcoin ETF” – one that invests directly in bitcoin rather than the futures contracts. The agency had previously delayed its final decision on the proposal in September.

  • The VanEck ETF going live next week would join a growing roster of bitcoin futures-based ETFs launched over the past month following years of denials and deferrals by the SEC for a bitcoin ETF designed to track the cryptocurrency’s price. Some industry commentators have noted that an ETF backed directly by bitcoin would more closely track the cryptocurrency’s price than one backed by bitcoin futures.
  • The XBTF ETF has a net expense ratio of 0.65% and will invest primarily in bitcoin futures listed and traded on the CME, according to the VanEck press release.
  • “Both cost and tax treatment are two essential considerations for investors, and we have made both front and center in the design of XBTF,” VanEck director of digital assets product Kyle DaCruz said in the press release.
  • According to VanEck, the average daily open interest in the CME’s bitcoin futures has increased from $77 million in average daily open interest in the first quarter of 2018 to approximately $1.5 billion in the third quarter of 2021.
  • In October, the SEC greenlit the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (stock ticker BITO), which subsequently listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The fund quickly gathered more than $1 billion in investor assets, the fastest ETF ever to hit the milestone.
  • Following ProShares’ much anticipated ETF launch, Valkyrie Investments’ bitcoin futures ETF started trading on the Nasdaq a couple weeks ago.
  • VanEck bitcoin futures ETF won SEC approval in late October and made a regulatory filing at the time suggesting a launch date of Oct. 25, but company officials had declined to comment since then on why the new fund had not yet launched.

UPDATE (Nov. 15, 18:00 UTC): Adds that VanEck confirmed the planned launch in a press release Monday and fund net expense ratio.

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Tanzeel Akhtar is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Europe.