Vanguard reiterates it has no bitcoin ETF plans. But what about Schwab?

Schwab Asset Management “continues to learn and hear from investors as to their investment needs and considerations for investing in bitcoin ETFs,” spokesperson says

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Alex Millauer/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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As spot bitcoin ETFs continue fighting for assets, some predict another fund issuer could soon enter the arena. 

The asset management arm of financial giant Schwab, whose US ETFs manage about $320 billion in assets, is a candidate to launch such a fund, some industry watchers said.

Charles Schwab — alongside Fidelity — currently allows investors to trade spot bitcoin ETFs on its brokerage platform. But while Fidelity also offers its own spot bitcoin ETF, Schwab does not. 

Read more: Big ETF players remain on the sidelines amid possible milestone bitcoin fund approval

The Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC) has seen $1.9 billion of inflows since launching on Jan. 11, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data. That total is second only in the segment to the nearly $2.2 billion of inflows notched by BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT). 

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst said in an X post Saturday that the success of rival Fidelity’s FBTC could spur Schwab “to file something sooner rather than later.”  

“They’re never first to market in anything but they make [a big] impact when they come in [with a] dirt cheap fee [and] 30 [million] active brokerage [accounts],” Balchunas added.

Nate Geraci, president of The ETF Store, said in a separate X post that he agreed with Balchunas — calling Schwab’s potential entrance into the segment a “foregone conclusion.”

Though Schwab launched an ETF that holds crypto-related stocks in 2022, the company has not revealed any plans to launch a spot bitcoin ETF. 

A spokesperson for the firm told Blockworks Monday it does not comment on speculation.     

“Schwab Asset Management continues to learn and hear from investors as to their investment needs and considerations for investing in bitcoin ETFs,” the representative noted earlier this month. “As is the case with everything we do, if a decision is made by us to offer an ETF in this space, we will seek to deliver on those investment needs with a client focus.”

Read more: Bitcoin ETF Tracker

The predictions by some segment observers come as State Street’s interest in spot bitcoin ETFs also remains uncertain. Fellow fund giant Vanguard meanwhile has repeatedly made its stance clear that it does not intend to launch a spot bitcoin ETF. 

Janel Jackson, global head of ETF capital markets, said in a Jan. 24 Q&A on the firm’s website that “we do not currently believe that there is an appropriate role for them to play in long-term portfolios.” 

Vanguard also does not allow investors to buy or sell such funds on its platform. 

Read more: As spot bitcoin ETF volumes soar, Vanguard is blocking such trades

Jackson added: “In Vanguard’s view, crypto is more of a speculation than an investment.”

Ten spot bitcoin ETFs have now traded for more than two weeks after a slate of fund firms gained long-awaited approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

Despite Balchunas and Geraci saying they expect Schwab to throw its hat in the spot bitcoin ETF ring, not all believe there will be more coming to market.  

Sumit Roy, senior analyst at ETF.com told Blockworks earlier this month that he didn’t expect any other issuers to launch “vanilla” spot bitcoin ETFs in the future.

He added at the time: “But I do expect that there will be more creative funds that add other types of exposures on top of just bitcoin.”


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