UPDATE (Feb. 14, 2019): Reality Shares withdrew its proposal the next day.
A new proposed exchange-traded fund (ETF) would invest in bitcoin futures – though only as part of a larger set of more conservative investments.
Reality Shares ETF Trust, a branch of Blockforce Capital, which already launched one ETF with blockchain products, filed a Form N1-A with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday in partnership with NYSE Arca, looking to launch the Reality Shares Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF.
If approved, the fund would invest in a portfolio which includes “high-quality, short-term sovereign debt instruments listed for trading on U.S. exchanges and denominated in U.S. dollar, euro, British pounds sterling, Japanese yen and Swiss francs,” as well as bitcoin futures, money market mutual funds and/or other cash equivalents, according to the filing.
The fund would invest in cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts, rather than physically settled. In other words, when the contract expires, the investor would receive the cash equivalent of its value, rather than actual bitcoins. According to the filing, “the fund will not invest directly in bitcoin.”
The proposal explains:
“The Adviser initially constructs the Fund’s portfolio by investing approximately (i) an equal-weight of 15 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets in Fixed Income Securities denominated in each Fiat Significant Global Currency; (ii) 15 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets representing notional exposure in Bitcoin Futures and (iii) 10 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets in Money Market Instruments for margin and/or cash management purposes, each as measured at the time of purchase (the ‘Target Portfolio’).”
Reality Shares’ filing goes on to add that “the Adviser seeks to reallocate the Fund’s assets approximately to the Target Portfolio on the business day following the date that one or more of the Significant Global Currencies moves by more than 20 [percent] up or down from its original 15 [percent] portfolio equal-weight, calculated as a percentage of the Fund’s net assets.”
Initially, Reality Shares plans to invest in the bitcoin futures offered by the major Chicago futures exchanges, Cboe and CME, though it might look for other bitcoin futures products in the future.
Reality Shares’ proposal comes on the heels of two bitcoin-specific ETF filings made by Bitwise Asset Management and VanEck/SolidX last month. While Bitwise’s proposal was also filed by NYSE Arca, VanEck and SolidX are working with Cboe BZX Exchange.
The VanEck/SolidX proposal is famously identical to an earlier proposal that many hoped would be the first bitcoin ETF approved. However, the companies pulled the previous version after the prolonged U.S. government shutdown, saying at the time that they were unable to continue discussions about the proposal with the SEC.
Both of these bitcoin ETFs differ from Monday’s filing in that they do not include sovereign debt instruments.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
T-bill image via JHerbstman / Wikimedia Commons