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The US Security and Exchange Commission SEC approved the new bitcoin ETF on Friday. It started trading today under the ticker BITO.  

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Whatever your belif is on bitcoin  surviving government regulation, the introduction of an ETF that tracks bitcoin futures, creates access for a new audience. For institutional investors, now they can allocate to bitcoin, within their mandate. And it allows individual investors who may have never participated in bitcoin, to buy it in their normal brokerage account.  

With that, there are interesting similarities to the 2004 launch of the first gold ETF (GLD) GLD +0.9%. GLD offered a new and easy way for traditional long-only institutional investors, as well as individuals, to allocate to gold. And with that, gold prices took off. Gold was low $400s at the time, and never looked back.  The price of spot gold rose almost five-fold over the following seven years.

So, this bitcoin ETF should benefit similarly from these new flows. But there may be more to this GLD comparison. Many view bitcoin as the new gold — as a store of value and hedge against inflation. With that, in the face of the hottest inflation we’ve seen in decades, we will see if money moves out of GLD, to fund new investments in BITO.

It’s early, but so far we can see some divergence in the charts that suggest that, at least, speculators are taking bets that this “swap” (GLD for BITO) may happen. 

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