• Proposed fund to invest in companies focused on the shift from a centralized self-hosted hardware infrastructure to a decentralized cloud infrastructure
  • Like the firm’s US Equity PLUS GBTC ETF (SPBC), the newly proposed fund may invest up to 10% of its assets in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)

Simplify ETFs is looking to launch a fund that would invest primarily in what it considers to be Web3 and metaverse companies in the US and abroad. 

The New York-based investment firm has 16 ETFs trading in the US with combined assets of roughly $1 billion, according to ETF.com.

Simplify launched its US Equity PLUS GBTC ETF (SPBC) in May 2021. The fund, which has $114 million in assets, primarily invests in US equities while also offering investors a 10% exposure to bitcoin through the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).

The firm now looks to go deeper into the crypto space by launching the Simplify Volt Web3 ETF (WIII), according to a disclosure filed on Wednesday. The proposed fund, which would be sub-advised by Volt Equity, is set to charge a management fee of 95 basis points, the document notes.

“Web3 companies are companies that the sub-adviser believes are focused on and expected to benefit from shifting the bases of technology infrastructure from a centralized self-hosted hardware infrastructure to a decentralized cloud infrastructure,” the filing states. “The companies will use, help others use, or significantly be reliant upon Web3 technology, which is generally verifiable, trustless, self governing and distributed and may include metaverse companies.”

The document labels metaverse companies as those helping bring a computerized virtual environment to the masses. The metaverse could play a large part in internet innovation, the filing states, as it may allow users to own pieces of digital property through NFTs or other digital tokens.

Though the planned product would not invest in cryptocurrencies directly or through the use of derivatives, the fund may invest up to 10% of its assets in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).

There is no ETF in the US with Web3 in its name, but there are several focused on the metaverse. 

Roundhill Investments’ Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF (META), which launched in June, has about $915 million in assets, ETF.com data shows. Exchange Traded Concepts launched the Fount Metaverse ETF (MTVR) in October, and that fund has about $13 million.

Fund managers First Trust and ProShares filed for metaverse ETFs last month. 

Lara Crigger, managing editor of ETF Trends, said during a podcast earlier this month that she believes the metaverse is “a little thin on the ground when it comes to investability.” 

An executive at Simplify declined to comment beyond the filing.

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  • Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. Contact Ben via email at [email protected]