What Is An ETF In Cryptocurrency And How Does It Work?

Cryptocurrency ETFs offer a safe and familiar gateway to invest in the digital currency revolution, all within the comfort of your traditional brokerage account. Whether you’re a seasoned crypto enthusiast or just dipping your toes into the digital asset world, ETFs offer a potentially convenient and regulated way to gain exposure to this exciting asset class.


This blog post on what is an ETF in cryptocurrency is your roadmap to understanding what cryptocurrency ETFs are all about. We’ll break down the basics, explore their benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits Of Cryptocurrency ETFs

  • Accessibility: ETFs make it easier for investors to access the crypto market without the need for crypto exchanges or wallets.
  • Diversification: ETFs can offer exposure to a basket of cryptocurrencies, helping to spread risk and potentially reduce volatility.
  • Regulation: ETFs are regulated investment products, providing some degree of investor protection and oversight.
  • Convenience: ETFs can be traded easily through traditional brokerage accounts, just like regular stocks.

Drawbacks Of Cryptocurrency ETF

  • Limited Exposure: ETFs that track Bitcoin futures may not offer the same level of direct exposure and potential upside as owning the cryptocurrency itself.
  • Investment Risks: Bitcoin remains a volatile asset with inherent risks, and investors should be prepared for potential losses regardless of whether they access it through an ETF or direct ownership.
  • Potential Market Bubbles: A sudden influx of new capital through an ETF could lead to temporary bubbles and price distortions, creating risks for investors.
  • Regulatory Concerns: Regulators may be hesitant to approve Bitcoin ETFs due to concerns about market manipulation, money laundering, and the potential risks associated with a highly volatile asset.

Types Of Cryptocurrency ETFs

1.Bitcoin ETFs: Track the price of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency.

2. Cryptocurrency Index ETFs: Track a broader basket of cryptocurrencies to provide more diversification.

3. Blockchain ETFs: Invest in companies that develop or use blockchain technology, the underlying infrastructure of cryptocurrencies.

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What Are The Best Crypto ETFs?

Determining the “best” crypto ETF is subjective and depends on your individual investment goals and risk tolerance. However, here are some highly regarded options in different categories:

For Bitcoin Exposure:

  • ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO): First U.S. Bitcoin-linked ETF, tracks Bitcoin price via futures contracts, higher expense ratio.
  • VanEck Bitcoin Trust (GBTC): Oldest and largest Bitcoin-focused trust, trades at a premium to underlying Bitcoin value, less liquid.

For Diversified Crypto Exposure:

  • Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators ETF (BITQ): Invests in companies involved in the crypto industry, like exchanges and miners.
  • Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK): Broad exposure to blockchain technology companies and crypto-related businesses.
  • Siren Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (BLCN): Focuses on companies shaping the future economy, including crypto and fintech.

For Lower Fees:

  • Fidelity Crypto Industry and Digital Payments ETF (FDIG): Expense ratio of 0.39%, lower than many other crypto ETFs.
  • Global X Blockchain ETF (BKCH): Expense ratio of 0.50%, focuses on companies involved in blockchain technology.

How Do I Buy An ETF?

Buying an ETF, even a cryptocurrency ETF, isn’t rocket science, but here’s a breakdown to make it smooth sailing:

1. Open a brokerage account: You’ll need an account with a platform that allows trading ETFs. Most major online brokers and robo-advisors offer them. Check for features like commission-free ETF trades, research tools, and investment minimums.

2. Fund your account: Choose a funding method, typically linking a bank account to transfer money (ACH) or using a debit card (instant deposit fees may apply). Ensure sufficient funds for your planned purchase.

3. Decide on your ETF: With research and your goals in mind, pick the specific ETF you want to buy. Consider factors like underlying assets, expense ratio, and risk profile.

4. Place your order: Navigate to the trading platform’s “order ticket” section. Enter the ETF’s ticker symbol, desired amount (shares or dollar value), and order type (market or limit). Review everything before confirming.

5. Monitor your investment: Track your ETF’s performance, analyze market trends, and adjust your strategies as needed. Remember, investing is a long-term game, so don’t panic at short-term fluctuations.

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What Is An ETF In Cryptocurrency?

ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund): A basket of securities that tracks an underlying index or asset class, traded on traditional stock exchanges like regular stocks.

Cryptocurrency ETF: Specifically offers exposure to cryptocurrency-related assets, providing a way to invest in crypto without directly owning or managing individual coins.

How Does  It Work?

  1. The ETF provider bundles a collection of cryptocurrency-related assets into a single fund.
  1. This fund is then divided into shares that can be bought and sold on traditional stock exchanges, just like regular stocks.
  1. Investors buy shares of the ETF, which gives them indirect exposure to the price movements of the underlying cryptocurrencies, without having to own the coins themselves.

What Is The Difference Between An ETF and cryptocurrency?

here’s a breakdown of their key differences:

Asset type:

  • Cryptocurrency: Digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange, with its own blockchain ledger. Examples: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin.
  • ETF: Basket of underlying assets pooled together and traded as a single unit on a stock exchange. Can hold various assets like stocks, bonds, or even cryptocurrencies.


  • Cryptocurrency: You directly own the digital tokens stored in a wallet. You are responsible for securing and managing them.
  • ETF: You own shares of the fund, not the underlying cryptocurrency directly. The ETF manager handles storage and management.


  • Cryptocurrency: Traded on dedicated cryptocurrency exchanges, requiring account creation and potentially dealing with complex interfaces.
  • ETF: Traded on traditional stock exchanges through your existing brokerage account, offering familiar buying and selling mechanisms.


  • Cryptocurrency: Largely unregulated, leading to potential risks from market manipulation and volatility.
  • ETF: Subject to regulations and oversight by financial authorities, offering some investor protection.


  • Cryptocurrency: Requires understanding wallets, technical aspects, and potentially facing security risks.
  • ETF: More accessible for traditional investors familiar with stock trading and existing brokerage accounts.

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What Happens If Bitcoin Gets An ETF?

The potential for a true, spot Bitcoin ETF (an ETF that holds actual Bitcoin, not futures contracts) to be approved and launched in major markets like the US has sparked a lot of discussion and speculation. While there’s no definitive answer to what will happen, here are some potential scenarios and their implications:

Increased Demand and Price Rise:

  • Increased accessibility: An ETF would provide a familiar and regulated way for institutional and retail investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin. This could lead to a surge in demand, pushing the price higher.
  • Legitimization: Approval by major regulators like the SEC could be seen as a major validation of Bitcoin as a legitimate asset class, further boosting investor confidence and potentially attracting more capital.

Market Volatility:

  • Price fluctuations: Increased trading volume and demand could lead to more significant price swings in both directions. New investors may need to be prepared for higher volatility.
  • Market saturation: A sudden influx of new capital could lead to temporary bubbles and price distortions in the short term.

Regulatory Landscape:

  • Market oversight: The presence of an ETF could encourage more regulatory scrutiny and oversight of the broader cryptocurrency market, potentially leading to stricter standards and consumer protection measures.
  • Tax implications: The tax treatment of Bitcoin held through an ETF might differ from direct ownership, so investors should be aware of potential tax consequences.


Cryptocurrency ETFs offer a regulated and accessible way to gain exposure to the crypto market without directly owning coins. However, it’s essential to understand their structure, risks, and fees before investing.


Do you get money from an ETF?

Yes, you can potentially make money from an ETF in a few ways, but it’s important to understand that it’s not a guaranteed income source and involves risks.

Does an ETF own bitcoin?

The answer to whether an ETF actually owns Bitcoin depends on the specific ETF in question. There are two main types of Bitcoin-related ETFs, and their relationship to the actual cryptocurrency differs. 

What is an example of a bitcoin ETF?

ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BTF), VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF (XBTF)

Are ETFs good for cryptocurrency?

The decision of whether ETFs are “good” for cryptocurrency is subjective and depends on your individual goals and risk tolerance.

Do any ETFs have cryptocurrency?

Yes, several ETFs offer exposure to cryptocurrency.

Is owning a bitcoin ETF the same as owning bitcoin?

No, owning a Bitcoin ETF is not the same as owning Bitcoin directly. Although both offer exposure to the price movement of Bitcoin.


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