How To Buy A Bitcoin ETF

More than a dozen bitcoin ETFs are listed globally, but none in the US.

sumit
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Senior ETF Analyst
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Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
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Edited by: Sumit Roy

It’s a cryptocurrency tale of haves and have-nots: U.S. investors are still pining for a bitcoin ETF, while investors elsewhere are being inundated with bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

The divergent picture comes down to differences in regulation. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has taken a skeptical approach toward bitcoin ETFs since the first attempt at launching one sprang up in 2013.

In contrast, the commission’s global counterparts have been much more permissive, allowing, in some cases, multiple bitcoin products onto their markets.

Just this week, a host of crypto products were listed in Europe, adding to the extensive list of exchange-traded products already available on the continent.

Earlier this year, the United States’ neighbor to the north, Canada, allowed the first bitcoin ETF to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and a steady stream of competing funds have followed suit.

Convenience Factor

Naturally, most investors would prefer to invest in an ETF listed domestically. It’s usually easier to purchase these funds compared to internationally listed alternatives (which can be onerous to buy, if they can be bought at all).

That’s why U.S. investors have tended to gravitate toward unlisted U.S. alternatives to get their hands on something similar to a bitcoin ETF. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is the largest of these—a quasiclosed-end fund that trades over the counter and is quoted on the OTCQX.

GBTC is not an ETF by any means, but it can be bought and sold through a U.S. brokerage account as simply as a U.S.-listed ETF—a feature that, for many investors, makes up for the fact that the product often trades at large premiums and discounts to its net asset value.

For some U.S. investors, GBTC is preferable to the many international bitcoin ETFs available because the latter can be difficult to get ahold of. Major U.S. brokerages typically require special accounts to trade international securities, a category that includes bitcoin ETFs listed in Canada, Europe and elsewhere.

But for investors with these accounts, buying an international bitcoin ETF is an option, and could offer a superior experience to the more unpredictable GBTC and its ilk.

ETF Options

For investors in other countries, if it’s an option, domestically listed bitcoin ETFs are generally the easiest to buy. Otherwise, the same considerations as those of U.S. investors apply—a special account may be necessary to purchase internationally listed bitcoin products.

See the table below for a list of the currently available bitcoin ETFs. If needed, contact your broker or financial advisor for information on how to trade these products and the risks associated with them.

FundTickerAUM (million $USD)Country Of Listing
Bitcoin Tracker EURBITCOIN XBTE1,136.8Sweden
3iQ CoinShares Bitcoin ETFBTCQ 945.7Canada
Bitcoin Tracker One - SEKBITCOIN XBT729.4Sweden
Purpose Bitcoin ETFBTCC699.4Canada
BTCetc - ETC Group Physical BitcoinBTCE 642.7Germany
CoinShares Physical BitcoinBITC 236.4Switzerland
21Shares Bitcoin ETPABTC210.5Germany/France/Switzerland
WisdomTree BitcoinBTCW 201.3

Germany/France/Switzerland/Netherlands

CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETFBTCX184.0Canada
VanEck Vectors Bitcoin ETNVBTC 137.2Germany
Ninepoint Bitcoin ETFBITC 107.2Canada
Bitcoin ETFEBIT65.0Canada
SA1 Bitcoin ETPSBTCU 50.7Switzerland
Iconic Funds BTC ETNXBTI 9.2Germany/Switzerland
Betapro Bitcoin ETFHBIT 4.2Canada
QR CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate Fundo QBTC11-Brazil

Sources: Issuers, Bloomberg; data as of June 1, 2021

 

Email Sumit Roy at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @sumitroy2

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining etf.com, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.