First Australian Spot Bitcoin, Ether ETFs to Go Live Next Week

21Shares and ETF Securities team up to bring crypto exposure to the country while American regulators drag their feet

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key takeaways

  • 21Shares, which has products listed on 10 regulated European exchanges, will feature two spot crypto ETFs
  • The firm’s pair of ETFs are set to launch the same day as a fund proposed by Cosmos Asset Management, which intends to invest in shares of a Canadian bitcoin ETF

The first Australian ETFs to invest directly in bitcoin and ether are set to hit the market next week while US fund issuers continue to work with regulators to secure a listing.

Switzerland-based 21Shares, the world’s largest issuer of crypto exchange-traded products (ETPs), has teamed up with ETF Securities to launch the funds.

The ETFS 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (EBTC) and the ETFS 21Shares Ethereum ETF (EETH), which track the price of bitcoin and ether in Australian dollars, are fully backed by the respective assets held in cold storage by Coinbase.

Both ETFs are expected to list on the Cboe Australia exchange on April 27.

21Shares CEO Hany Rashwan told Blockworks the firm has been working to provide Australian investors easier access to crypto for years. Running the world’s longest-running spot bitcoin ETP, which launched in Switzerland in 2019, the firm has navigated everything “from contentious forks to stock splits,” he added.

“That valuable experience and deep data is consistently instrumental in all of our regulatory conversations,” Rashwan said. “There’s more to crypto than just bitcoin and ethereum, and we look forward to making the entire crypto world accessible and investable for everyone around the world.”

While ETFs investing directly in cryptoassets have launched across Europe, Canada and elsewhere, the products break new ground for Australia, whose regulators have previously viewed the digital assets as volatile and unfit for the country’s financial markets.

Some efforts from the country’s political elite signal a willingness to work constructively with crypto proponents in a bid to usher in a new age for Australian investors backed by appropriate legal frameworks.

Those promises are being bolstered by attempts to push the country’s forward-thinking approach toward greater digital asset adoption including the private sectors’ experimentation with the nascent asset class.

Last month, Australia’s ANZ Bank became the first major financial institution in the country to issue and execute payment of a stablecoin linked to the nation’s dollar. A green light from the country’s primary clearing house marks yet another step along Australia’s journey to crypto adoption.

Indeed, the Australian Financial Review reported Tuesday that Cosmos Asset Management would launch the country’s first bitcoin ETF on April 27. Instead of direct spot exposure, Cosmos’ fund is expected to invest in crypto through Purpose Investments’ bitcoin ETF — which launched on Canada’s Toronto Stock Exchange in February 2021.

21Shares has roughly $2.5 billion in assets under management. Its products are listed on 10 regulated European exchanges.

“Once we decided to build a range of crypto ETFs for the Australian market, there was only one partner we wanted to work with,” Graham Tuckwell, executive chairman of ETF Securities Australia, said in a statement. “[21Shares’] pioneering approach to secure investment in cryptocurrency has been emulated by other fund managers around the world.”

21Shares has launched a handful of ETPs this year, including products with Aave (AAVE), Chainlink (LINK) and Uniswap (UNI) as their underlying assets. Rashwan previously told Blockworks that the firm aims to support what it considers to be the top 50 cryptocurrencies by the end of the year.

The pending launches come as the SEC continues denying spot bitcoin ETF proposals from US fund issuers. Crypto firm executives remain split on when exactly such a product could be approved.


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