CBOE Files with SEC to List 6 Bitcoin ETFs

After becoming the first major exchange to launch Bitcoin futures two weeks ago, CBOE sets its sights on Bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

After the launch of its Bitcoin futures products on December 10, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) is set to foray deeper into the world of crypto – the exchange has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list six Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Marking another potential step toward the establishment of Bitcoin as a legitimate asset class, CBOE’s petition was filed with the SEC between December 15 to 19, to list the following six funds (as per the exchange’s website): 

  • First Trust Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • First Trust Inverse Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • REX Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • REX Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF
  • GraniteShares Bitcoin ETF
  • GraniteShares Short Bitcoin ETF

“Given the success of the launch of our Bitcoin futures, several partners are very interested in moving forward with the development of an exchange-traded product,” a CBOE spokesperson informed CNBC.

Previous filings for Bitcoin ETFs have repeatedly been opposed by the SEC. Unsuccessful submissions, including a filing by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss earlier this year, proposed to track the performance of Bitcoin, and were rejected by the regulator owing to the cryptocurrency’s highly volatile and unregulated nature. The SEC took issue with these ETFs’ inability to establish necessary surveillance-sharing agreements, and the lack of protection against fraud and manipulation in trade practices. 

The CBOE’s proposed ETFs attempt to allay these concerns by tracking the performance of Bitcoin futures instead of the digital asset itself. 

The First Trust filing, for example, states that the fund “intends to invest primarily in Bitcoin Futures Contracts, [though] it may also invest in other Listed Bitcoin Derivatives, OTC Bitcoin Derivatives, U.S. exchange-listed ETPs, and Non-U.S. Component Stocks (collectively, ‘Bitcoin Instruments’)”.

In an interview with Bloomberg last month, CBOE president Chris Concannon stated that the release of regulated Bitcoin futures products was bound to open up opportunities for the introduction of Bitcoin ETFs to the market.

The New York Stock Exchange recently filed with the SEC to list a pair of Bitcoin ETFs which will also track the performance of Bitcoin futures. However, whether the recent launch of Bitcoin futures manages to sway the SEC from its previous position on Bitcoin ETFs remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, as the competition to get ahead in the rapidly-developing crypto space heats up between exchanges, Bitcoin itself has fallen into a slump – the cryptocurrency dropped to below $12,000 today, after crossing a record $20,000 earlier this month.