‘Early Days of the Gold Rush Are Over' for Bitcoin But It Still Has Portfolio Value, Betterment Says

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It's been another wild week for bitcoin.

The cryptocurrency surged 11% on Friday, bringing it back above $40,000 for the first time in two weeks. A few days earlier, it had slumped below $37,000.  

But while bitcoin remains volatile, Betterment's Dan Egan says it is turning into a portfolio staple.

In the early days of bitcoin, for example, it was seen as a sudden path to riches — now, it acts more like a "digital gold asset" that may provide a market hedge, he told CNBC's "ETF Edge" on Monday.

"It's definitely maturing into more of an alternative like gold or precious metals," Egan said. "You should have a little slice of it in your portfolio just for diversification's sake."

Still, bitcoin prices are well off the highs set in November. The crypto traded at close to $70,000 at its peak. 

Alternative exposure to bitcoin can be found in the ETF space. Bitcoin prices jumped last year following the launch of the first bitcoin futures ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), in October.

This futures ETF is useful for both long- and short-term investors, ProShares' Simeon Hyman said in the same "ETF Edge" interview.

"The futures market, if anything, is a better reflection of price and more liquid," he said. "BITO, in and of itself, trades lots of volume every day, and there are options on it as well."

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rejected Fidelity's application for a bitcoin ETF, but BITO still holds promise, Hyman added.

"The futures market [has] multiple exchanges that converge to the price of those futures," he said. "There are key advantages when you combine that with the ETF structure that make it a pretty compelling value proposition."

The BITO ETF is up 5% this month, though it has fallen 12% for the year. 


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