ETF Talk: Spotlight on Spot ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

A new trend has swept the market lately: spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs)!


On January 10, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved 11 new spot bitcoin ETFs, offering investors a more convenient avenue to invest in the original cryptocurrency. Unlike regular ETFs, spot bitcoin ETFs track Bitcoin’s current price, often referred to as the ‘spot’ price.

Among these newly approved ETFs is the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB), which was established on January 10, 2024. Spot bitcoin ETFs present a straightforward method for portfolio diversification by incorporating Bitcoin into investment strategies. Notably, the flexibility of spot bitcoin ETFs allows for the creation or redemption of shares based on market demand.

The approval of spot bitcoin ETFs signifies a notable shift in regulatory treatment towards cryptocurrencies. These ETFs offer investors a regulated means for long-term exposure to bitcoin, with holdings securely stored in cold storage. As discussed in my ETF Talk on March 13, 2024, this vehicle provides regulated exposure to an asset with significant potential.


Furthermore, spot bitcoin ETFs provide investors with the potential to broaden portfolio diversification by incorporating an asset that displays minimal correlation with conventional investments. Notably, ARKB distinguishes itself through its simplicity, providing exposure to Bitcoin without unnecessary intricacies. Investors may find value in this uncomplicated method of accessing the cryptocurrency market.

ARKB tracks the performance of Bitcoin measured by the performance of CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate, a New York Variant/Index that is adjusted to the Trust’s liabilities and expenses.

ARKB now has an expense ratio of 0.21% and $2,105 million in assets under management (AUM), as of February 29, 2024. Since its inception, the fund’s net asset value (NAV) has increased by 31.64%, with all its assets placed in Bitcoin (BTC).



Before diving into spot Bitcoin ETFs, consider both the pros and cons.

On the bright side, their approval enhances Bitcoin’s legitimacy as an asset class, offering investors access across various accounts, potentially boosting liquidity and stability and featuring lower trading fees compared to some crypto exchanges.

But investors need to be wary, as investing in spot bitcoin ETFs introduces more regulation and reliance on third-party custodians, with potential consequences for both the ETF price and underlying Bitcoin, alongside annual fees and exposure to Bitcoin’s inherent volatility, posing risks for investors unprepared for its fluctuations.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to email me. You may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

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