Another bitcoin ETF just joined the $1B assets club. Will it be the last?

While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders

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Artwork by Crystal Le

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Five US spot bitcoin ETFs now have at least $1 billion in assets, while the other half of the field currently lags behind considerably.

Bitwise Asset Management’s Bitcoin ETF (BITB) this week became the fifth US spot bitcoin fund to surpass the mark. 

Grayscale Investments’ Bitcoin Trust ETF (GBTC) still comfortably leads the segment, with about $23.8 billion in assets under management. That number has declined, however, from the roughly $28 billion it had upon converting to an ETF on Jan. 11. 

GBTC has so far endured more than $6.8 billion of outflows since becoming an ETF, BitMEX Research data shows. But the other nine US spot bitcoin funds have reeled in about $11.4 billion of net inflows over that span — putting total net flows for all 10 at about $4.6 billion.

Read more: Bitcoin ETF inflows pick up again, with BlackRock leading the way

The fastest growing spot bitcoin ETFs have been BlackRock’s iShares ETF (IBIT) and Fidelity Investments’ Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC), which have asset bases of about $6 billion and $4.3 billion, respectively.

The Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB) has roughly $1.4 billion in assets under management, so far edging BITB’s $1.1 billion.

While the BlackRock and Fidelity products have separated from the pack on an inflows basis, ARKB and BITB “have the chops to compete as long-term players in this category, according to The ETF Store president Nate Geraci.

Scale is of “utmost importance” given the intense fee competition in the spot bitcoin ETF segment, he noted. VanEck is set to lower its bitcoin ETF fee from 0.25% to 0.20% on Feb. 21, the firm said in a Thursday filing.

“Success typically begets success in the ETF space,” Geraci told Blockworks. “The quick asset accumulation by BlackRock, Fidelity, Ark, and Bitwise is going to make things much more difficult for the rest of the field.”

Neena Mishra, ETF research director at Zacks Investment Research, said that more of the bitcoin ETFs could continue to gain significant assets given the segment’s unprecedented growth so far.

“While I expected these to be among the most successful ETF launches ever, the success has indeed surpassed my expectations,” she said. “So I wouldn’t be shocked if another of these ETFs also surpasses the $1 billion mark.”

But it could be awhile, Geraci noted.

The bitcoin ETF issued by Invesco (in partnership with Galaxy) has $315 million in assets, according to BitMEX Research. The VanEck Bitcoin Trust (HODL) has $190 million in assets, while the asset base of Valkyrie Investments’ Bitcoin ETF (BRRR) sits at $152 million. 

At the back of the field are products by Franklin Templeton and WisdomTree, which had $96 million and $26 million in assets, respectively, as of Thursday.

Read more: WisdomTree exec downplays firm’s slow bitcoin ETF launch

Mishra noted that ETFs generally need to reach at least $50 million in assets under management to be considered “viable.” While the funds run by smaller firms, and with higher operating costs, are most likely to be liquidated down the line, issuers such as WisdomTree could choose to let the product continue trading even if it’s unprofitable.

Crypto executives and industry watchers have noted that much of the wealth management sector expected to jump into these spot bitcoin ETFs has not yet allocated to them. Bitwise Chief Investment Officer Matt Hougan said during a panel at the Exchange ETF conference in Florida this week that he expects “a secondary acceleration” of inflows in a few months when the funds make it on more platforms.

“I think all of the issuers are committed to staying in the race for the time being,” Geraci said. “But the poor economics in this category will likely force a few firms out if they can’t make up any ground.”


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