ProShares Files For Inverse Bitcoin Futures ETF

The filing is a test of where the SEC’s line on crypto funds lies.

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Reviewed by: Dan Mika
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Edited by: Dan Mika

ProShares has filed for an inverse bitcoin futures ETF to let investors bet against the prime cryptocurrency, a move that could tell issuers more about where the SEC stands on crypto exposure in regulated products. 

The Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF filing aims to provide the inverse of the daily performance of an index of CME bitcoin futures contracts. The Wednesday morning filing doesn’t have a ticker or expense ratio. 

ProShares’ filing will test the boundaries of the SEC months after the regulatory body gingerly allowed the firm to launch the first bitcoin futures ETF in October. The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) has maintained assets of between $900 million and $1.5 billion since launch based on the movement of the volatile underlying asset, and has kept the spread between 3 and 5 basis points for most of the fund’s life. 

Direxion and crypto manager upstart Valkyrie were the first to file for geared bitcoin futures ETFs shortly after BITO launched, with an inverse and 1.25x leveraged offering respectively, but both were withdrawn within a matter of days after objections from the SEC. 

The agency is also in the midst of a broader inquiry of leveraged and inverse ETFs after SEC Chairman Gary Gensler ordered a staff review in early October last year. 

However, if regulators are more comfortable with ProShares operating the fund as the U.S. market’s most established player in the bitcoin futures space, it may signal an inching forward toward loosening its stance against spot bitcoin funds or crypto assets. 

If regulators don’t act on the filing, the fund would become effective in late June. 

 
Contact Dan Mika at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter 

Dan Mika is a reporter for etf.com. He has previously covered business for the Ames Tribune and Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa, and BizWest Media in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dan holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Truman State University.