In brief

  • In January 2024, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved multiple applications for a spot market Bitcoin ETF.
  • A number of spot Bitcoin ETFs are now trading in the United States.

Since the first application for a U.S. Bitcoin exchange-traded fund was filed in 2013, a spot Bitcoin ETF has become something of a holy grail for the crypto community. And now it’s finally here.

An ETF is a publicly traded investment vehicle that tracks the value of an underlying asset; in the case of a Bitcoin ETF, that asset is Bitcoin. Advocates for a Bitcoin ETF argue that the complexities of exchanges, crypto wallets, and private keys still present a daunting barrier to entry into the crypto space for newcomers. A Bitcoin ETF would enable these investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without actually having to hold their own cryptocurrency.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the first batch of 10 spot Bitcoin ETFs on January 10, and they all began trading on January 11. Here’s a rundown of all of the spot Bitcoin ETFs currently trading in the States, along with a look at futures ETFs and how they vary.

BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT)


In June 2023, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock—with over $9 trillion in assets under management as of Q1 2023—shocked the TradFi world when it filed an application for a Bitcoin spot ETF. Now live on NASDAQ, the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) is one of the highest-profile Bitcoin ETFs on the market, and has a 0.25% standard fee.

However, BlackRock is cutting the fee to 0.12% for the first $5 billion in assets or 12 months, whichever comes first. BlackRock is using Coinbase as its crypto custodian and spot market data provider, with BNY Mellon as the cash custodian. The firm also named JP Morgan Securities, Jane Street Capital, Macquarie Capital, and Virtu Americas as authorized participants.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)

Crypto investment fund manager Grayscale's GBTC Bitcoin trust managed well over 600,000 BTC (worth nearly $28 billion at today's prices), and it made no secret of its desire to convert the trust into a full-fledged Bitcoin spot ETF. In fact, it was Grayscale’s legal push that helped turn the tide at the SEC, as Chair Gary Gensler begrudgingly admitted.

As a proper ETF listed on NYSE Arca, GBTC has the highest fee of any of the U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs at 1.5%, which is actually down slightly from the 2% GBTC fee before the conversion. Analysts suggest the high fee may be a measure to keep GBTC owners from dumping shares to switch to another ETF, due to the potential for a significant tax hit.

Grayscale may also be betting that its lengthy track record and immense BTC holdings will keep investors from looking elsewhere, despite the high fee. Coinbase serves as the crypto custodian and index provider, with BNY Mellon as administrator. Jane Street, Virtu Americas, Macquarie Capital, and ABN AMRO Clearing are authorized participants.


Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC)

March 2021 saw a rush of applications for Bitcoin ETFs, among them Fidelity's Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust—perhaps unsurprisingly, given that mere weeks earlier its Director of Global Macro, Jurrien Timmer, said that Bitcoin has a "unique advantage" over gold.

Uniquely, Fidelity has opted to self-custody the Bitcoin underlying the ETF, rather than using Coinbase or Gemini. The Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust trades on Cboe’s BZX and has a standard fee of 0.25%, but Fidelity is waiving it until August 1, 2024. Authorized participants include Jane Street, JP Morgan Securities, Macquaries, and Virtu Americas.

Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (BITB)

Bitwise first filed for its spot Bitcoin ETF filing back in October 2019, but was, like many other applications, rejected by the SEC. But Bitwise persevered, and was the first hopeful to launch an ad campaign relating to a Bitcoin ETF, enlisting actor Jonathan Goldsmith—well known for portraying “The Most Interesting Man in the World” for beer company Dos Equis—to deliver its “Bitwise is Interesting” message.

Now live on NYSE Arca, the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF has the lowest fee of any current spot offering at 0.20%—but Bitwise is waiving its fee entirely for the first $1 billion worth of assets or a six-month period, whichever comes first. Coinbase is the crypto custodian, while BNY Mellon is both the administrator and the trust custodian. Jane Street, Macquarie, and Virtu Americas are all authorized participants.

WisdomTree Bitcoin Fund (BTCW)

New York-based asset manager WisdomTree already has experience running a Bitcoin ETF; it launched one on Switzerland's SIX stock exchange back in 2019. It joined the ranks of U.S. Bitcoin ETF hopefuls in March 2021, filing an S-1 with the SEC that proposed listing shares in the WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust on the Cboe BZX Exchange under the ticker BTCW.

Now listed on Cboe under the BTCW ticker, the WisdomTree Bitcoin Fund has a 0.3% standard fee, although like Bitwise, the firm is waiving that entirely for the first six months or until $1 billion worth of assets are traded (whichever is sooner). Coinbase is once more the crypto custodian here, while State Street Bank and Trust is the administrator and cash custodian. Jane Street, Virtu Americas, and Macquarie Capital have signed on as authorized participants.

Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO)

Galaxy Digital and Invesco filed for a joint Bitcoin ETF in September 2021, called the Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF. According to that filing, its ETF would also be “physically backed” by Bitcoin rather than via derivatives like futures. Invesco is the fourth-largest ETF provider in the United States, so it has a lengthy track record ahead of the Bitcoin rollout.

The Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO) is now trading on Cboe BZX with a standard fee of 0.39%, though like others on this list, the companies are covering all sponsor fees for the first six months of operation up to $5 billion worth of assets. BNY Mellon is the transfer agent and cash custodian, while Coinbase will handle crypto custody. JP Morgan Securities, Jane Street, Virtu Americas, and Marex Capital Markets are authorized participants.


Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund (BRRR)

A relatively recent entrant to the race, asset manager Valkyrie filed its first application for a Bitcoin ETF in January 2021. Now the Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund is live using the ticker BRRR—an amusing allusion to the “money printer goes brrr” meme that refers to the Federal Reserve pumping the economy full of cash. It’s sure to please some Bitcoin die-hards.

Trading on the NASDAQ, the ETF has a standard fee of 0.25% but Valkyrie is fully waiving its sponsor fee for three months. The Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund uses Coinbase as prime broker and Bitcoin custodian, while U.S. Bank is the cash custodian. Jane Street and Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. have signed on as authorized participants.

Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB)

Ark Invest, the investment firm led by Cathie Wood, filed its application for the Ark 21Shares ETF in June 2021. Ark Invest has partnered with Swiss-based ETF provider 21Shares AG to offer the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF; it trades on Cboe's BZX Exchange under the ticker symbol ARKB.

The ARKB ETF nearly matches Bitwise’s low fee at 0.21%, and like others, the companies are waiving the sponsor fee entirely for six months or until it hits $1 billion in assets, whichever comes first. Coinbase is the crypto custodian, while Jane Street, Macquarie, and Virtu Americas are authorized participants.

VanEck Bitcoin Trust (HODL)

VanEck is one of the earliest Bitcoin ETF applicants. Its first stab at a Bitcoin ETF—the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust, in partnership with SolidX—came all the way back in 2018. The “HODL” ticker refers to common Bitcoin lingo; it dates back to a panicked misspelling of the word “hold” in a 2013 BitcoinTalk forum post. VanEck is also donating 5% of fund profits to Bitcoin core developers.

Where the majority of other applicants have named Coinbase as the custodian of the Bitcoin underpinning their ETFs, VanEck has instead opted for rival exchange Gemini to custody its Bitcoin. The VanEck Bitcoin Trust trades on Cboe and has a 0.25% fee, with Jane Street, Virtu Americas, and ABN AMRO Clearing signed as authorized participants.

Franklin Bitcoin ETF (EZBC)

Franklin Templeton, one of the world’s largest asset managers with around $1.4 trillion in assets under management, joined the race for a spot Bitcoin ETF in September 2023. The ETF’s shares are listed on the Cboe BZX exchange—and, like the majority of applicants, crypto exchange Coinbase is the fund’s custodian.

Using the ticker EZBC, the Franklin Bitcoin ETF is available now with a fee of 0.29%, putting it near the middle of the pack for the current crop of spot ETFs. There’s no apparent discount for early investors. Jane Street and Virtu Americas are listed as authorized participants.


What about Hashdex?

The largest crypto asset management firm in Latin America, Hashdex, entered the fray in August 2023, with a proposal to convert its existing Bitcoin futures ETF to a spot ETF. Despite claiming that it would begin trading as a spot ETF right away, Hashdex announced in January 2024 that its Hashdex Bitcoin Futures ETF (DEFI) transition will happen at a later date. Hashdex announced that it was moving forward with DEFI in March 2024.

Hashdex employs an unusual strategy that sets it apart from other spot Bitcoin ETF operators, obtaining spot Bitcoin from within the regulated CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). DeFi refers to decentralized finance, a catch-all term that includes cryptocurrencies and related protocols.

The spot Hashdex Bitcoin ETF will trade on NYSE Arca and feature the second-largest fee at 0.94%, behind GBTC, the other converted ETF. Jane Street, Macquarie, and Virtu Americas are authorized participants.

What about Bitcoin futures?

Spot Bitcoin ETFs are newly approved in the United States, but the SEC approved Bitcoin futures ETFs back in 2021 and those have been trading since. Bitcoin futures ETFs let investors speculate on the future price of the asset, rather than investing into a fund that actually holds the asset and ebbs and flows based on its price.

Current Bitcoin futures ETFs in the United States include the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) and the Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators ETF (BITQ), both listed on NYSE Arca.

Edited by Guillermo Jimenez

Editor's note: This article was originally published in October 2021 to track the status of Bitcoin ETF applications and last updated on March 27, 2024 to highlight the active spot Bitcoin ETFs following SEC approval.

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