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SEC greenlights bitcoin ETFs; turning point for Crypto market

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced its approval of 11 applications, including those from BlackRock, Ark Investments/21Shares, Fidelity, Invesco, and VanEck. This decision, despite concerns voiced by certain officials and investor advocates regarding associated risks, paves the way for the majority of these products to commence trading on Thursday, initiating a competitive race for market dominance among the issuers."

A culmination of ten years of development, these ETFs represent a significant shift for Bitcoin, enabling investors to access the world's largest cryptocurrency without the need for direct ownership. This development offers a substantial lift for the crypto industry, which has faced challenges in the form of various scandals.

Approved Spot Bitcoin ETFs:

1.       Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)

2.       Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (BITB)

3.       Hashdex Bitcoin ETF (DEFI)

4.       Blackrock's iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT)

5.       Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund (BRRR)

6.       ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB)

7.       Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO)

8.       VanEck Bitcoin Trust (HODL)

9.       WisdomTree Bitcoin Fund (BTCW)

10.   Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC)

11.   Franklin Bitcoin ETF (EZBC)

Source: Morningstar, Issuer Form S-1s. Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR Online. Securities and Exchange Commission, 10 Jan. 2024, www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.

Selecting the Appropriate Spot Bitcoin ETF for Your Needs

All Spot Bitcoin ETFs aim to provide exposure to bitcoin, and physically holding bitcoin leaves little room for issuers to establish a distinctive advantage.

Nevertheless, this doesn't imply that all these ETFs are identical. Investors can tailor their choice by considering the below criteria: fees and liquidity. For long-term investors, fees should take precedence, while those actively trading ETFs should prioritise liquidity. It's essential for everyone to monitor how trading costs can impact overall performance.


The Bitwise Bitcoin ETF boasts the lowest ongoing fee at 0.20%. However, fees on ETFs offered by ARK, Fidelity, VanEck, and iShares are all within 5 basis points of Bitwise's ETF. Issuers have also utilised fee waivers to attract assets initially. Six bitcoin ETFs are set to launch with a 0.00% fee after waivers, but it's important to note that each waiver comes with its limitations, typically lasting for six months and applying to the first $1 billion to $5 billion in assets. While waivers are temporary, investors are advised to consider the long-term perspective and opt for one of the lowest-cost ETFs after the waiver periods expire. This still provides ample choices.

An exception to this trend is Grayscale, whose proposed fee currently stands at 1.50%. Despite the higher fee, investors won't receive additional benefits. Therefore, those seeking bitcoin exposure may find better options elsewhere.


Investors must be mindful of their own expenses. Engaging in frequent trading and executing large trades incurs liquidity costs that can accumulate rapidly. Buy-and-hold investors generally face lower exposure to liquidity risks compared to market makers and day traders.

Should you Invest in Spot Bitcoin ETFs?

The SEC's simultaneous approval of multiple filings sparked intense fee competition among issuers throughout the application process, benefiting investors. The emphasis on lower fees and costs has become crucial for attracting new assets, prompting issuers to enter the market with competitive fee structures.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs substantially undercut the high fees imposed by existing crypto funds. Currently, Grayscale trusts have a fee range of 2% to 3%, and the largest Bitcoin futures ETF charges 0.95%, which is considerably higher than the 0.20% price tag proposed in Bitwise's Spot Bitcoin ETF filing. Additionally, Investors in the current Bitcoin futures ETFs incur an additional fee when transitioning from one futures contract to the next, a concern that spot Bitcoin ETFs do not encounter.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs are expected to closely mirror their net asset value, providing a safer option for investors compared to early Bitcoin trusts. Additionally, the ability to create and redeem shares daily helps maintain a balance between demand and supply. If you hold a positive outlook on Bitcoin as an investment asset, this development could be a significant game-changer and warrants a closer examination.


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