ProShares to launch bitcoin ETF aimed at shorting the cryptocurrency

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Eight months after launching the first Bitcoin futures ETF, ProShares, a provider of bitcoin-linked exchange traded funds (ETF), announced on Monday that it plans to launch an ETF aimed at shorting the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

Called the ProShares Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF, the fund will provide a way for investors to potentially profit from a decline in the price of bitcoin or hedge their cryptocurrency exposure with an ETF, the company said in a statement. It is further intended to address the challenge of acquiring short exposure to bitcoin, which can be onerous and expensive for many investors.

“As recent times have shown, bitcoin can drop in value,” said ProShares CEO Michael Sapir, in a statement. “BITI enables investors to conveniently obtain short exposure to bitcoin through buying an ETF in a traditional brokerage account.”

For investors who prefer a mutual fund, ProFunds, the affiliated mutual fund company of ProShares, plans to launch Short Bitcoin Strategy ProFund (BITIX) on Tuesday. The BITIX mutual fund will have the same investment objective as BITI. BITI will be the first ETF of its kind in the US. 

BITI is designed to deliver the opposite of the performance of the S&P CME Bitcoin Futures Index and seeks to obtain exposure through bitcoin futures contracts, the company said.

In October last year, ProShares launched the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, the first US bitcoin-linked ETF, attracting more than $1 billion in assets from the public in two days.

The crypto market, however, is currently in a free fall, with bitcoin leading the way. Bitcoin dropped  below the key $20,000 level for the first time since December 2020. On Monday, it hit a session low of $19,616.10 and was last down 2.2% at $20,112. 

Since the beginning of the year, bitcoin has lost 59% of its value against the US dollar. Digital assets have been selling off all year along with other risky holdings as global central banks have shifted to hiking interest rates to quell soaring inflation.

Developments like lender Celsius freezing withdrawals and decentralized-finance applications taking unprecedented measures to protect themselves against cascading liquidations have injected further uncertainty into the industry. 

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