Cryptocurrency Exchange Traded Funds


Cryptocurrency Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) have become increasingly popular among investors seeking to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency market.

These ETFs allow investors to invest in a basket of cryptocurrencies without buying each cryptocurrency individually, making it a convenient and accessible option for investors. In this tutorial, we will discuss what cryptocurrency ETFs are and ultimately help you shape your investing decision.

Define Cryptocurrency ETFs

A cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) follows the price changes of one or more cryptocurrencies. ETFs provide investors with the option of trading a variety of assets, including cryptocurrencies, on a single market. The underlying assets that the ETF follows determine its value. Investors can purchase and sell shares of these funds on an exchange just like stocks.

Types of Cryptocurrency ETFs

There are two main types of cryptocurrency ETFs: Physically-backed and Futures-backed.

Physically-backed ETFs

Physically-backed ETFs invest in the underlying coins. These ETFs purchase and hold actual coins, resulting in a basket of cryptocurrencies that the ETF tracks.

Three features of physically-backed ETFs are:

  • Provide you direct access to the bitcoin market.

  • Represent the underlying cryptocurrency's actual price changes

  • Make it simple to invest in cryptocurrencies without directly owning them.

Futures-backed ETFs

Futures-backed ETFs invest in futures contracts that follow the price of the underlying cryptocurrency. These ETFs do not own real cryptocurrencies but rather cash-settled futures contracts.

Three features of futures-backed ETFs are:

  • Enable investors to participate in the cryptocurrency market without holding the underlying asset.

  • Provide investors a mechanism to manage the risks involved with bitcoin investing.

  • Provide a mechanism for those who cannot purchase cryptocurrencies directly to invest in the cryptocurrency market.

Learning about Cryptocurrency ETFs

Let's look at an example to comprehend the bitcoin ETFs notion further.

Say, you wish to invest in a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund that monitors Bitcoin's price changes. You may invest in a Bitcoin ETF that is physically backed, which implies that the ETF buys and retains bitcoin on behalf of investors. The ETF's value is linked to the price of bitcoin, and if the price rises or falls, so will the value of the ETF.

Benefits of Cryptocurrency ETFs

Investing in cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds offers several benefits, including −


Cryptocurrency ETFs allow investors to invest in a basket of cryptocurrencies, providing diversification benefits.


Cryptocurrency ETFs make it easy to invest in cryptocurrencies without acquiring and storing them directly.


Cryptocurrency ETFs are traded on stock markets, making them widely available and liquid.


ETF holdings are made public, allowing investors to know their investments.


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates cryptocurrency ETFs, giving investors additional security.

Pros and Cons of Cryptocurrency ETFs

There are several pros and cons associated with investing in cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds. Here are some of the most prominent pros and cons.

Pros of Cryptocurrency ETFs


Bitcoin ETFs offer diversification by allowing investors to spread their risk across a portfolio of cryptocurrencies.


Cryptocurrency ETFs make investing in cryptocurrencies simple and accessible.


The SEC regulates cryptocurrency ETFs, giving investors additional safety.


ETF holdings are made public, allowing investors to know what they are investing in.

Lower Volatility

ETFs can mitigate volatility associated with individual cryptocurrencies by diversifying across various assets.

Cons of Cryptocurrency ETFs


ETFs, like any other investment, have costs. These costs might eat into your returns over time.

Market Risks

Cryptocurrency ETFs are vulnerable to market risks, and the ETF's value might fluctuate depending on the underlying cryptocurrency's price changes.

Lack of Control

ETF investors do not directly influence the underlying assets, which may turn off some investors.

Limited Exposure

Certain ETFs may have restrictions on the sorts of cryptocurrencies they invest in, limiting their exposure to the total cryptocurrency market.

Regulatory Aspects of Cryptocurrency ETFs

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates cryptocurrency ETFs, which were previously unwilling to approve because of worries about market manipulation and investor protection.

The SEC has been increasingly amenable to licensing bitcoin ETFs as the cryptocurrency sector has matured and become more mainstream. The SEC has authorized a few physically-backed Bitcoin ETFs in recent years, but no futures-backed ETFs have been approved.

Other Alternatives of Cryptocurrency ETFs

Aside from cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds, there are other ways to invest in cryptocurrencies, including −

  • Direct Investment: Investors may buy and hold cryptocurrencies directly, but this needs secure storage and management of the money.

  • Crypto Mining: Investors may also invest in cryptocurrency mining, which includes mining coins using specialized equipment.

  • Crypto Funds: These funds are managed funds that invest in various cryptocurrencies.

Examples of Cryptocurrency ETFs

There are several cryptocurrency ETFs available to investors, including −

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)

This physically-backed Bitcoin ETF tracks the price of Bitcoin. Also, it is one of the largest cryptocurrency ETFs in the world, with over $40 billion in assets under management.

Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC)

This is a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF that tracks the price of Bitcoin. It is the first Bitcoin ETF to be approved by the Canadian government.

Vaneck Vectors Digital Assets Equity ETF (DAPP)

This ETF, backed by futures, makes investments in businesses active in the bitcoin industry.


Investors may access and conveniently invest in the cryptocurrency market with cryptocurrency Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). They provide benefits for diversity, regulatory supervision, and transparency. However, investors should be conscious of the costs, market dangers, and lack of control related to investing in ETFs.

Before purchasing any cryptocurrency ETF, it's critical to conduct research and comprehend the advantages and disadvantages.


Q1. What is a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF)?

Ans. An investment fund that monitors the price of one or more cryptocurrencies is a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF). Like a normal stock, the ETF is listed on a stock exchange, enabling investors to obtain exposure to the cryptocurrency market without directly buying the underlying assets.

Q2. How does a cryptocurrency ETF work?

Ans. Cryptocurrency ETF works by pooling investors' money and using that money to purchase the underlying cryptocurrencies. The ETF then issues shares that are traded on a stock exchange. Investors can buy and sell shares in the ETF just like they would with any other stock.

Q3. What are the advantages of investing in a cryptocurrency ETF?

Ans. Many benefits come with investing in a cryptocurrency ETF. First, it gives investors access to the bitcoin market without requiring them to buy and keep the underlying assets. Compared to directly purchasing and holding bitcoins.

Q4. What are the risks associated with investing in a cryptocurrency ETF?

Ans. Like other investments, investing in a cryptocurrency ETF has some risks. The bitcoin market's erratic behavior is one concern. Because of the price swings, investors may see substantial profits or losses. Apart from these, market manipulation, cybersecurity threats, and governmental laws may have an impact on this asset class.

Updated on: 05-Apr-2023


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