(Bloomberg) -- Holdouts for a physically backed US Bitcoin exchange-traded fund saw a glimmer of hope on Thursday with the launch of a new futures-backed product. 

The Hashdex Bitcoin Futures ETF (ticker DEFI), developed with Teucrium, began trading on Thursday, according to a statement. Unlike existing derivatives-backed crypto ETFs, DEFI was filed under the Securities Act of 1933, rather than the Investment Company Act of 1940.

That detail matters to industry watchers because the 1940 law has been the preferred format for Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler, who has cited its greater investor protections. Since a physically backed Bitcoin ETF, which the SEC has repeatedly denied, would fall under the 1933 act, DEFI’s launch could potentially be a stepping stone to approval. 

“The launch of this Teucrium product only bolsters the case for a spot Bitcoin ETF since it’s utilizing the exact same fund structure,” said Nate Geraci, president of The ETF Store, an advisory firm. “That said, a ‘bolstered case’ doesn’t mean the SEC will budge from their hard-line stance. I’m still in the camp that a spot product simply won’t be approved until the SEC has regulatory oversight of crypto exchanges.”

The latest high-profile rejection came in June, when the SEC denied a bid from Grayscale Investments to convert its Bitcoin trust into an ETF. The digital-asset manager announced it was suing the agency within hours of the decision. 

DEFI launches at a volatile time in the crypto universe. Bitcoin has plunged over 57% in 2022, weighed down by sky-high inflation and an aggressive Federal Reserve.

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