Blockchain ETFs vs. Bitcoin ETFs: What’s The Difference?

Blockchain ETFs vs. Bitcoin ETFs

December 6th, 2021   |   Updated on May 24th, 2023

Bitcoin has become exceedingly popular in the investment avenues, but bitcoin exchange-traded funds are comparatively new to the block.

On the other hand blockchain, ETFs are just stepping into the market. In the news, you see the terms Bitcoin and Blockchain being used interchangeably.

So, it becomes normal for people to be confused between both of them even though they are two separate entities.

Blockchain ETF

Blockchain ETFs mainly keep track of the stock market prices of the companies that have invested in Blockchain.

Since Blockchain is more of a technology, it is not bound to any particular company or product.

Bitcoin requires blockchain, but the reverse is not true. This blockchain setup of investments is vast but is not aimed at any one sector.

For example, you can see IBM has partnered with shipping giant Maersk to use blockchain in the freight sector.

E-commerce giant Overstock invested in blockchain through a Zero digital coin exchange and Medici ventures.

This makes all these companies popular with the Blockchain ETFs. For example, ETFs’ Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) and Siren Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy (BLCN) have added both companies to their ETFs.

Bitcoin ETF

Most of the Bitcoin ETF applications that were submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission have suggested that the price of Bitcoin be tracked through the futures contracts traded on Chicago Board Options Exchange and through the CME Group.

This model involves the ETF’s tracking prices of Bitcoin by taking ownership of the futures contracts.

October 2021 saw the launch of the first bitcoin futures ETF- the Pro Shares Bitcoin Strategy ETF. Its purpose is to track the bitcoin futures contracts that are pegged to the price of the cryptocurrency.

This is after the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected many bitcoin ETF’s proposals finding problems
related to “liquidity and valuation.”

On the same day, Grayscale Investments LLC filed an application for conversion of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into Bitcoin Spot ETF.

At present, blockchain ETFs are much less volatile if you compare them with the volatility of bitcoin ETFs. This happens because they are no longer exposed to bitcoins price change volatility.

Having said that, Blockchain still remains a nascent technology and therefore does not take a large chunk of the market. The stock prices of the companies that are tracked by the ETF remain prone to the

impact of factors that are not related to blockchain technology. When the Bitcoin ETFs are launched, they will get affected by the policies imposed by the regulatory agencies.

Key Differences

In order to understand the key difference between the Bitcoin and Blockchain ETFs, you must know the difference in the instruments they are tracking.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, whereas the blockchain is a technology of a cryptocurrency. This distinction is much more important when you think of it with regard to it being an instrument of investment.

Bitcoin futures are already offered in some of the country’s top exchanges, whereas cryptocurrency’s status is still doubtful.

In the past few years, many virtual currencies have gotten trapped in a lot of regulatory fights. They have been constantly scrutinized mainly for their role in harboring illegal acts like money laundering.

On the flip side, blockchain technology has received the approval of the CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, and has since then been adopted by many companies in the financial sector. Blockchain is neither scrutinized nor banned by the regulatory authorities.

At present, there are seven blockchain ETFs that trade in the regulated markets. All of them were launched between 2018 and 2021. Their names are:

  • Global X Blockchain ETF
  • Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators ETF
  • Siren Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF
  • Capital Link NextGen Protocol ETF
  • Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF
  • First Trust Index Innovative Transaction & Process ETF
  • VanEck Vectors Digital Transformation ETF

In November this year, their assets were around $2.5 billion and the expense ratio was in between 0.5 to 0.95%.

Special Considerations

As Bitcoin’s popularity soared, so has that of the Bitcoin ETFs. In fact, digital currencies became mainstream among institutional investors.

There are a lot of things about the crypto ETF that makes it popular-investors can buy and sell bitcoins easily, quickly integrate them into their portfolios, and reduction in the problems arising due to securing and storing Bitcoin.