There’s good news for people who find bad news about crypto to be good. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to buy an exchange-traded fund based on shorting Bitcoin. The financial firm ProShares will debut the first ETF to let you bet against Bitcoin, and it’s set to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange when the bell opens tomorrow, June 21, under the ticker BITI.
The SEC previously approved a futures Bitcoin ETF, also from ProShares, in October. It debuted alongside some of the biggest growth Bitcoin has seen. Now, cryptocurrencies have been severely struggling, with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and even stablecoins all suffering major losses.
What’s funny about the SEC’s approval of an ETF that can be used to short Bitcoin is that it has not yet approved an ETF that actually allows you to trade Bitcoin itself. According to the SEC, you can bet on Bitcoin’s future, bet against it, or... that’s about it. On the podcast Crypto Critics’ Corner Bloomberg Intelligence ETF Analyst James Seyffart said “The SEC has essentially lost the forest for the trees”. While it will occasionally approve Bitcoin-related ETFs such as the one debuting tomorrow, it has thus far been reluctant to approve spot Bitcoin ETFs, which would let you invest in Bitcoin more directly. That leaves investors interested in Bitcoin relying on weird apps and knowing the ins and outs of crypto-wallets.
Now, just because you can gamble against Bitcoin’s future with an ETF doesn’t mean everything is all downhill from here for Bitcoin hopefuls and the many meme and retail investors who’ve latched their own stars to the cryptocurrency. “Of course, there can’t be any guarantees,” Michael Sapir, chief executive of ProShares told the Wall Street Journal, “but based on how the futures market has been tracking the spot market, we are optimistic that the inverse product will track well as well.” We’ll have to see if Sapir’s assessment holds true as the market reacts.