Cinthia Murphy, ETF.com Staff Writer
No other news story captured investors’ imaginations this past week as much as the launch of bitcoin futures at Cboe Global Markets (Cboe owns ETF.com).
On Sunday evening, under ticker symbol XBT, bitcoin futures made their debut to such fanfare that Cboe’s website crashed under massive traffic; however, that did not affect trading. Headed into the launch, the price of bitcoin soared above $17,000 and continued to rise Monday morning.
XBT is the first mainstream financial product tied to bitcoin, and is soon to be followed by similar products from the competing Chicago Mercantile Exchange set to launch on Dec. 18.
Questions abound as to what a futures contract will do to the underlying asset, bitcoin itself. Bulls say it could increase demand and bring institutional players into the bitcoin space for the first time; bears say investors will finally be able to short the cryptocurrency that started the year under the $1,000 price mark.
Either way, most seem to agree that futures-based bitcoin ETFs are soon to follow. REX Shares has already refiled for a pair of bitcoin funds, the REX Bitcoin Strategy ETF and the REX Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF.
"I’m not sure what futures will mean for bitcoin price short term, but overall, I think it’s bullish because it’s the beginning of the institutionalization of bitcoin," said Spencer Bogart, head of research for Blockchain Capital. "I think once these futures markets develop deep liquidity and robust markets, we’ll see the approval of a futures-based ETF in the next six to 18 months."
ETF Asset Growth Picks Up Steam
In the first week in December, investors poured $13 billion into U.S.-listed ETFs, bringing the year-to-date haul to a record $437 billion.
The Senate’s approval of the tax bill helped fuel another wave of inflows into U.S. equity funds as the S&P 500 inched higher to another new record during the week.
Top 10 Creations (All ETFs)
Net Flows ($,mm)
AUM ($, mm)
AUM % Change
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund
iShares Russell 2000 ETF
iShares Core S&P 500 ETF
Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund
SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust
iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF
iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF
Vanguard Small-Cap ETF
Vanguard Value ETF
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Contact Cinthia Murphy at email@example.com.