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First U.S. Bitcoin ETF Could Be Coming in 2 Weeks, but There’s a Catch

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What You Need to Know

  • The first Bitcoin ETF to be approved for U.S. trading by the SEC may be the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, on Oct. 18.
  • But that will only be a futures ETF, and the more heavily in-demand physically backed Bitcoin ETFs may not be approved for a while.
  • There’s a 75% chance the first Bitcoin ETF for the U.S. will be approved this month, Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Intelligence senior ETF analyst, predicts.

There is a very good chance that the Securities and Exchange Commission will finally approve a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in two weeks, on Oct. 18. But many investors shouldn’t get too excited because it will just be a future-based Bitcoin ETF, according to Nate Geraci, ETF Store president, and Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Intelligence senior ETF analyst.

Tweeting on Sunday, Geraci said: “2 weeks from tomorrow, the first US-listed bitcoin ETF (unfortunately, futures-based) could be approved.”

His tweet went on to say: “Time to get everyone on record. Yay or nay? I say yes, though if [it] doesn’t happen we may be waiting til like 2025.”

Geraci pointed to a tweet earlier in the day by Balchunas predicting a 75% chance of a Bitcoin ETF approval this month, most likely the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF on Oct. 18. Bloomberg Intelligence put the odds at 2-1 that it will be approved first, Balchunas noted.

That’s ahead of the 9-1 odds for the Invesco Bitcoin Strategy ETF (with a potential approval date of Oct. 19), 20-1 for the VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF (Oct. 25), 5-1 for the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF (Oct. 25) and 50-1 for the Galaxy Bitcoin Strategy ETF (Nov. 1), according to Balchunas.

“The SEC has kicked can on bitcoin ETF approval BUT that is for the physically-backed ones under” the Securities Act of 1933, Balchunas tweeted. “The futures ETFs filed under the ’40 Act (which Genz loves) are very much alive and likely on schedule.”

Balchunas was referring to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, who said at the Aspen Security Forum on Aug. 3: “I anticipate that there will be filings with regard to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) under the Investment Company Act (’40 Act). When combined with the other federal securities laws, the ’40 Act provides significant investor protections.

“Given these important protections, I look forward to the staff’s review of such filings, particularly if those are limited to these CME-traded Bitcoin futures.”

It was his first major speech on cryptocurrencies.

Gensler made similar comments again on Sept. 29, at the Future of Asset Management North America Conference, Geraci noted in another tweet Sunday, in response to his earlier tweet. If the SEC “doesn’t approve existing futures-based bitcoin ETF filings this month, then why make these comments?” Geraci added.

Responding to Geraci, Rick Ferri, founder and CEO of Ferri Investment Solutions, tweeted: “Those who really want to own BTC figured out a way to do it a long time ago.”

In response to Geraci and Ferri, Balchunas tweeted that demand for a Bitcoin futures ETF would likeky be “muted” compared with demand for a “real” Bitcoin ETF.

Balchunas added: “If they approve (and I think they will) changing my profile picture to this for a month or so.”

The picture Balchunas included was ex-Chicago Bulls basketball star Michael Jordan holding up three fingers after his team won the third-straight National Basketball Association championship in 1993.

(Image: Adobe Stock)