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The gamut of financial instruments related to cryptocurrency continues to expand, with today marking the launch of the first Blockchain exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Indeed, the Reality Shares Nasdaq NextGen Economy ETF (BLCN) and the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) both begun trading on Wednesday; listing on the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), respectively. Notably, both financial products, were without the word ‘Blockchain’ in their titles, after the SEC requested its removal last week.

Repeated attempts to launch Bitcoin-based ETFs failed throughout 2017. Regulators repeatedly expressed concerns pertaining to the “liquidity and valuation of Bitcoin futures contracts,” acting as a sticking point obstructing their approval.

The launch of Bitcoin ETFs has been highly anticipated, for a flurry of new individual and institutional investors are expected to open positions. This would help legitimise a societal uptake of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

You see, the idea of investing in crypto comes as rather daunting from the perspective of a novice investor; often having little familiarity with exchange platforms, nor the process of recording flows of capital required for taxation purposes (which are still a grey area for governments across the world). The launch of ETFs significantly eases these psychological barriers that have left millions – even billions – of dollars on the sidelines.

Staying with Bitcoin financial products, Wednesday marked another milestone, with the very first Bitcoin futures contract expiring, courtesy of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). As one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, CBOE began trading Bitcoin futures on December 10, with bidding prices peaking the next day at $18,850 (USD) – a far cry from the BTC price at the time of publication, $11,370, according to CoinMarketCap.

Together with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), news of Bitcoin futures launching acted as a major catalyst for the unprecedented growth experienced by the cryptocurrency market over the holiday period. The initial CME contract will expire on January 26.

Today’s news comes as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above $26,000 for the first time on Wednesday; marking the seventh record close in 2018 alone. The index – a price-weighted measure of 30 major U.S. companies – rallied 25.1% last year.

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