NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bitcoin climbed to a record high on Wednesday, and the first U.S. bitcoin futures-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) built on gains after a solid debut on Tuesday.
The world's leading cryptocurrency was up 3.30% at $66,364.72, after reaching a record of $67,016.50, topping the $64,895.22 hit on April 14 this year.
Tuesday was the first day of trading for the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF - a development market participants say is likely to drive investment into the digital asset.
The ETF closed up 2.59% at $41.94 from its opening price of $40.88 on Tuesday and continued its ascent on Wednesday, last up 3.76% at $43.52.
The Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF , expected to debut on the Nasdaq Wednesday, appeared to be delayed after its prospectus https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/0001877493/000138713121010113/valk-n1aa_102021.htm was amended in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A person familiar with the matter said the Nasdaq expects the ETF to launch on Thursday, but that has not been confirmed yet.
Trading appeared to be dominated by smaller investors and high-frequency trading firms, analysts said, noting the absence of large block trades indicated that institutions were likely staying on the sidelines.
James Quinn, managing partner at Q9 Capital, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency private wealth manager, said the launch of the new product was "meaningful" for bitcoin.
Theoretically, any licensed brokerage firm in the United States that wants to take on this ETF can do so as easily as any other ETF, which "should make it available to a lot of folks," said Quinn.
While the ETF is based on bitcoin futures, Quinn said the trades and hedges underpinning the ETF mean activity will flow into the spot market and the bitcoin price.
Crypto ETFs have launched this year in Canada and Europe amid surging interest in digital assets. VanEck is also among fund managers pursuing U.S.-listed ETF products, although Invesco on Monday dropped its plans for a futures-based ETF.
Ether, the world's No. 2 cryptocurrency, was up 3.63% on the day at $4,018.75, after hitting a high of $4,080, nearing its record high of $4,380 reached on May 12.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak and John McCrank in New York, Alun John in Hong Kong, Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Elizabeth Howcroft in London; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell, Gareth Jones and Steve Orlofsky)