What Is a Bitcoin ETF? What Are the Top 5 Crypto ETFs?

What is a Bitcoin ETF?

An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is a popular investment instrument used to gain exposure to an index, commodity, currency, or market sector. Index and sector ETFs have become popular among investors looking to minimize risk and avoid picking individual stocks. 

Warren Buffet has repeatedly stated that buying an ETF that tracks a major U.S. index is the safest bet for long-term investors. However, while traditional stock investors have enjoyed the benefits of ETFs, those of us in the crypto space have seen U.S. regulators consistently block attempts to launch an ETF that directly tracks the price of cryptocurrencies.

This post will get you up-to-date on how ETFs work, the different types of ETFs, the top crypto ETFs, and the regulatory outlook for spot crypto ETFs.

How does a Bitcoin ETF work?

Bitcoin ETF


A Bitcoin ETF is structured as an exchange-traded fund traded on stock exchanges like traditional stocks. A fund director or an investment company manages it.   

Underpinning Asset:

The first asset of a Bitcoin ETF is Bitcoin itself. The ETF’s value is directly linked to the price of Bitcoin in the request.


The ETF issues shares that are traded on stock exchanges. These shares represent power in the fund. When investors buy shares of the Bitcoin ETF, they laterally gain exposure to the price movements of Bitcoin.   

Price Tracking: 

The fund’s ideal is to track the price of Bitcoin. The ETF’s value is acclimated and grounded on the price oscillations of Bitcoin in the request.


Unlike directly buying and holding Bitcoin, investors can buy and sell shares of the Bitcoin ETF through their brokerage accounts. This offers a more familiar and regulated investment process analogous to trading stocks.


ETFs are traded on stock exchanges, which generally offer high liquidity. This means investors can buy or vend shares of the Bitcoin ETF throughout the trading day at prevailing request prices.   


A significant aspect of Bitcoin ETFs is that they’re subject to nonsupervisory oversight. Regulatory bodies, like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission( SEC), assess whether the ETF meets certain norms and safeguards for investors before it can be listed and traded on stock exchanges.

Custody and Security:

One of the advantages of investing in a Bitcoin ETF is that investors do not need to worry about the specialized aspects of storing and securing their own Bitcoin. The ETF’s custodian handles the storage and security of the actual Bitcoin.

Tax Efficiency:

ETFs are known for their duty effectiveness compared to directly holding the underpinning means. This can be a charming factor for investors looking to invest in Bitcoin without the implicit duty complications associated with cryptocurrency power.

Types of ETFs

ETFs are comprised of underlying assets such as stocks, commodities, currencies, or bonds and are managed passively or actively. 

Passive ETFs typically aim to replicate an index or a specific sector through a diverse portfolio of stocks. While portfolio managers actively select the securities an active ETF holds, they often deviate from the composition of indexes and sectors. 

Here are three popular types of ETFs:

  • Sector ETFs provide investors with exposure to an entire market sector. For example, the iShares Information Technology ETF (IYW) holds securities of leading technology companies such as Nvidia and Meta. 
  • Index ETFs track an index through a diversified portfolio of securities. For example, the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) tracks the S&P 500.
  • Commodity ETFs track the value of commodities such as precious metals and oil without purchasing them physically. For example, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) exposes investors to the price of gold. 

Other types of ETFs include inverse, leveraged, and currency. These are often considered more complex financial instruments and are generally only used by professional traders. 

Bitcoin and Crypto Spot ETFs

A Bitcoin or Crypto Spot ETF would function similarly to a commodity ETF by providing a trader with direct exposure to the price change of a digital asset such as Bitcoin without them having to purchase the asset. 

A Spot ETF approved by U.S. regulators could trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). An NYSE listing would make crypto more accessible to investors and potentially drive up the price of BTC and other cryptocurrencies. However, U.S. regulators have repeatedly rejected attempts to launch Bitcoin Spot ETFs.

Spot Bitcoin ETF Regulation

Since the beginning of the 2022 crypto bear market, many people have hoped that a Spot ETF would trigger the next bull run. However, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the regulatory agency responsible for overseeing and enforcing federal securities laws, has yet to show interest in approving a spot Bitcoin ETF.

The most high-profile case of a Spot ETF being rejected involved Grayscale Investments. In 2022, the SEC rejected the firm’s bid to convert its $13.5 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot ETF.

The SEC claimed the ETF wouldn’t meet standards due to market manipulation concerns. Greyscale responded by suing the SEC. A response to Greyscale’s lawsuit against the SEC is expected in the second half of 2023.

Until a spot ETF is approved, we must rely on ETFs that hold securities and futures contracts to gain exposure to crypto through the U.S. stock market.

Futures Crypto ETFs

A futures crypto ETF provides exposure to futures contracts connected to the price of a cryptocurrency instead of holding the asset. Traders can profit from the movement of the crypto’s price by betting correctly on fluctuations.

Examples of Bitcoin Futures ETFs include the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) and the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BTF). These ETFs are all about speculation; they don’t provide direct exposure to the price of Bitcoin and aren’t appropriate for casual investors.

Top 5 Crypto ETFs

Bitcoin ETFs

With no spot crypto ETF on the horizon, indirect ETFs are the best way to gain exposure to crypto on the U.S. stock exchange. These five top crypto ETFs trade on U.S. exchanges and expose you to companies linked to the crypto and blockchain industries.

1. Global X Blockchain ETF (BKCH)

  • Market Cap $63 million. 
  • Holds various leading blockchain and crypto companies, including Riot Platforms Inc (RIOT), Coinbase Global Inc (COIN), and Marathon Digital (MARA). 

2. Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK)

  • Market Cap $430 million. 
  • Nearly 5% of holdings are in Bitcoin-heavy MicroStrategy (MSTR). 

3. Siren Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (BLCN)

  • Market Cap $73 million. 
  • Exposed to major crypto companies such as MicroStrategy (MSTR) and Coinbase Global Inc (COIN), along with traditional tech companies such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Visa (V). 

4. Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators ETF (BITQ)

  • Market cap: $64 million. 
  • Around 30% of holdings are composed of just three companies: Galaxy Digital Holdings (GLXY CN), Microstrategy (MSTR), and Coinbase Global Inc (COIN). 

5. VanEck Digital Transformation ETF (DAPP)

  • Market cap: $33 million.
  • Under 20% of holdings are in Marathon Digital (MARA) and Riot Platforms (RIOT). 

With a spot ETF in the U.S., gaining direct exposure to Bitcoin and other cryptos is possible, but the ETFs on the list offer broad exposure to the biggest companies in the crypto space.

Canada’s Spot Crypto ETFs

While regulators in the U.S. and other major economies have yet to approve spot crypto ETFs, Canada has broken the mould. In 2021, Canadian regulators began approving spot Bitcoin ETFs. Dozens of these ETFs are now trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

However, due to the uncertain regulatory environment in Canada, users and citizens within this region cannot trade on Binance.

Final Thoughts On How ETFs Work 

Traditional ETFs provide investors a way to gain exposure to indexes, sectors, commodities, and currencies through a streamlined instrument. In the crypto space, spot ETFs are expected to be the next big leap forward. They can potentially make crypto more accessible to casual and institutional investors.

However, until the SEC and other significant regulators follow Canada’s lead in approving spot Bitcoin ETFs, we’ll continue to rely on ETFs backed by futures contracts and securities to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies.


In summary, a Bitcoin ETF, or Exchange-Traded Fund, bridges traditional finance and the world of cryptocurrencies. It allows investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin’s price movements without directly holding the cryptocurrency.

These ETFs serve like regular investment funds, enabling druggies to buy and vend shares that mirror Bitcoin’s price. The appeal of Bitcoin ETFs lies in their simplicity and familiarity. They attract a broader range of investors who might be reluctant to navigate the complications of buying and storing factual Bitcoin. These ETFs are subject to nonsupervisory oversight, which enhances investor confidence by ensuring compliance with established norms. Still, the journey of Bitcoin ETFs hasn’t been without obstacles.

Regulatory opinions and requests impact their relinquishment. As of my last update in September 2021, some proposals were pending nonsupervisory blessing. As for the” Top 5 Crypto ETFs,” the geography could have evolved since then. Relate to dependable fiscal news sources or ETF issuer websites to find the most information. Bitcoin ETFs introduce a regulated approach to cryptocurrency investment, blending invention with established practices. They offer a way for investors to pierce the eventuality of cryptocurrencies while clinging to non-supervisory fabrics, shaping the crossroads of traditional finance and digital means.

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