No. 1 Canadian Ether ETF Emerges

April 26, 2021

A clear leader has emerged in the early running to be North America’s largest ether ETF. In just four days on the market, the CI Galaxy Ethereum ETF (ETHX) has gathered assets equal to more than double that of its next largest rival.

The horse race, which began on April 20 when three Canadian-listed ether ETFs all launched on the same day, is still very much in its early stages, but investors have so far gravitated toward ETHX, and to a lesser extent, the Purpose Ether ETF (ETHH). On the other hand, Evolve’s Ether ETF (ETHR) has gotten off to a slow start.

As of Friday, April 23, ETHX had picked up CA$93 million (US$75 million) in assets under management, compared to $40 million for ETHH and $8 million for ETHR.

All three ETFs hold ether— the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain, a platform for running a wide variety of decentralized applications.

Aggressive Price Moves

ETHX’s position as the No. 1 ether ETF in North America is a win for issuer CI Global Asset Management. The firm’s Canadian bitcoin ETF, the CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCX), came to market nearly three weeks after the Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC), leading to the latter becoming the much larger fund in the category.

BTCC currently has CA$1.2 billion (US$960 million) in assets under management, compared to $103 million for BTCX and $95 million for Evolve’s Bitcoin ETF (EBIT).

This time, with an even playing field, CI GAM was able to jump into first place. The firm pushed its fund to the forefront thanks to some aggressive moves it made with regard to fees.

ETHX’s management fee was fully waived until June 15, outdoing ETHR, whose fee was also waived, but only through May 31.

ETHX also established itself as the lowest-cost ether ETF even following the expiration of the waiver. After June 15, the ETF will charge a 0.4% management fee and a maximum management expense ratio (which includes the management fee and other expenses) of 0.95%.

That compares to a 1% management fee for ETHH with a maximum MER of 1.5%, and a 0.75% management fee for ETHR with no stated maximum MER.

 

Ether Prices

 

Though ETHX currently leads its category, it’s still early enough that either of its two rivals could conceivably catch up—but it will be a challenge. After all, the ETF is currently the low-cost option for ether exposure, and as the largest fund in the space, it has a crucial liquidity advantage.

Liquidity begets liquidity so that is an advantage that could compound as well, making it harder for rivals to catch up.

That said, crypto assets like ether are in high demand and may eventually become mainstays in investors’ portfolios. There could easily end up being room for more than one ETF to thrive in this space.

All three of the ether ETFs may appeal to Canadian investors and foreign investors with access to international securities.

Currently, there are no cryptocurrency ETFs trading on a U.S. exchange, though many investors have gravitated toward the unlisted Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE), which became publicly quoted on the OTC Markets in 2019. The trust, which acts more like a closed-end fund than an ETF, currently has around $7 billion in assets under management.

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

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