Bitcoin floated below its all-time high Wednesday, the day after the first bitcoin futures-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) began trading in the United States, a development that market players believe may encourage more investment in the digital commodity.

The world's most valuable cryptocurrency was last trading at $63,998, down 0.4% from its previous peak of $64,895.22 set on April 14 of this year, but still within striking distance of its all-time high of $64,895.22.

It hit a high of $64,499 on Tuesday, late in the day in the U.S. Earlier on the same day, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF settled up nearly 2.6% at $41.94 after its first day of trading, with almost $1 billion worth of shares changing hands on the ICE.N Arca platform operated by Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

Smaller investors and high-frequency trading businesses appeared to be the dominant players in the market, market observers say, who noted that the absence of massive block deals indicated that institutions were most likely keeping a distance.

The debut of the new product, noted James Quinn, managing partner at Q9 Capital, a cryptocurrency private wealth manager based in Hong Kong, is "significant" for the bitcoin ecosystem.

This ETF should be available to a large number of people since, theoretically, any licensed brokerage business in the U.S. can take on this ETF just as readily as any other ETF, Quinn said.

Despite the fact that the ETF is based on bitcoin futures, Quinn believes that the transactions and hedges that support the ETF will result in activity flowing into the spot market and the bitcoin price.

Cryptocurrency ETFs have been introduced in Canada and Europe this year, reflecting the growing interest in digital assets.

Valkyrie and VanEck are among the fund managers exploring exchange-traded funds that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but Invesco announced on Monday that it will no longer pursue a futures-based ETF.

Meanwhile, Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was down nearly 0.4% on the day, trading at $3,861. It was close to a six-week high, but still a long way from its all-time record of $4,380, reached on May 12.