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Bitwise Asset Management has withdrawn its application for a Bitcoin (BTC) futures-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) amid a number of such products launching in the United States.
While dropping its futures-linked ETF, the firm is still bullish on a spot Bitcoin ETF, which is designed to track Bitcoin directly, Bitwise chief investment officer Matt Hougan announced on Nov. 10.
Hougan said that Bitwise’s spot filing remains intact and the firm will continue its efforts to launch such a product in the United States:
“Ultimately, what many investors want is a spot Bitcoin ETF. We think that's possible. So Bitwise will continue to pursue that goal, and we will look for other ways to help investors get access to the incredible opportunities in crypto.”
The CIO emphasized that the first Bitcoin ETF application that was ever filed was a spot-based ETF by Gemini crypto exchange founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Filed in 2013, the application was denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2017. “For years, many have worked on this, including the team here,” he said.
Hougan went on to say that “any ETF is a big step,” referring to multiple Bitcoin futures ETFs receiving the SEC’s approval and starting trading in October. However, there are a number of reasons why Bitwise preferred to withdraw its own application.
The exec cited Bitwise analysis suggesting that the Bitcoin futures ETF contango — a situation where the futures price is higher than the spot one — would cost investors from 5% to 10% per year.
Hougan also noted that BTC futures ETFs have reportedly soaked up “all available capacity at futures commission merchants.” “This will ease over time, but for now, it’s added yet another expense. The result? Costs on top of costs, plus added complexity,” he said.
Related: BlockFi files for physically-backed Bitcoin ETF
The CIO stressed that “none of this means that futures-based ETFs are bad,” adding that products like the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF and the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF are “thoughtful versions.”
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Bitwise applied for a spot Bitcoin ETF in mid-October, planning to list the product on the electronic securities exchange NYSE Arca. The application came just a month after the firm filed for the Bitwise Bitcoin Strategy ETF in September.