ProShares has announced in a press release their plans to launch the first ETF within the U.S. tied to the largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, on October 19th.

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) comes after years of effort by issuers to have an approval by the SEC of an exchange traded fund linked to cryptocurrency. The landmark ETF will not invest directly in bitcoin but instead in bitcoin futures.

As the crypto exposure comes through an ETF, it can be bought and sold like a stock and provides investors with an opportunity to invest via an alternative to a crypto exchange while also being provided the protections that a 1940 Act fund inherently carries. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously indicated that the Commission would look favorably upon such a structured ETF within the bitcoin futures space.

“We believe a multitude of investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts to launch one,” said ProShares CEO Michael L. Sapir in the press release.

“BITO will open up exposure to bitcoin to a large segment of investors who have a brokerage account and are comfortable buying stocks and ETFs, but do not desire to go through the hassle and learning curve of establishing another account with a cryptocurrency provider and creating a bitcoin wallet or are concerned that these providers may be unregulated and subject to security risks,” Sapir said.

ProShares has previously launched under their affiliate company, ProFunds, the first mutual fund linked to bitcoin in July.

“BITO will continue the legacy of ETFs that provide investors convenient, liquid access to an asset class,” commented Sapir. “1993 is remembered for the first equity ETF, 2002 for the first bond ETF, and 2004 for the first gold ETF. 2021 will be remembered for the first cryptocurrency-linked ETF.”

BITO will be an actively managed fund within the bitcoin futures space that can carry a different “spot” difference than what the bitcoin token itself is trading for.

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