A handful of countries amass the entire Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds or ETFs available worldwide.
Bitcoin ETFs are emerging as critical instruments following institutional adoption by providing a secure and regulated way to invest in the cryptocurrency. Canada and Europe are leading the adoption of spot Bitcoin ETFs, which the U.S. refuses to accept.
Spot Bitcoin ETF countries
Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are collective investment tools offered by institutions traded on stock exchanges. They typically track a stock index, such as the S&P 500, a basket of assets, commodities such as gold, or cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), functioning like stocks. Institutions charge an administration fee for managing trades on behalf of investors. With the maturation of Bitcoin as an asset and acceptance in the institutional arena over the past few years, Bitcoin ETFs, which are investment products that track the Bitcoin price, whereby each share in the fund fixes according to the cryptocurrency’s price, have emerged.
There are two types of Bitcoin ETFs:
- Bitcoin futures ETFs: track the price of BTC based on futures contracts.
- Spot Bitcoin ETFs: these follow the actual price of BTC based on the market. Institutions purchase and store them.
Currently, much more prevalent in terms of approval are futures-based Bitcoin ETFs than spot. For many, the importance of a spot Bitcoin ETF lies in how the benefits of investing in ETFs carry over to the asset, such as greater accessibility, convenience, and a secure, regulated environment. Some regulation would bring greater exposure, capital, and user flow, giving Bitcoin greater credibility.
The United States, waiting in the wings
The SEC has delayed approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF. It has a dozen applications by financial giants such as Blackrock, WisdomTree, Fidelity, VanEck, and Invesco. When the agency approves a spot Bitcoin ETF, many expect to do so with all applications, making the United States the epicenter for spot Bitcoin investment products worldwide.
Bitcoin ETFs Worldwide
Five countries and three autonomous territories currently congregate the 20 spots of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds globally. Total assets in spot Bitcoin ETFs exceed $4.1 billion. Let’s see which countries now have a spot in BTC ETF, according to data presented by CoinGecko.
Canada, a North American territory, is top of the list of countries where people can trade up to 7 spot Bitcoin ETFs. In this sense, Canada represents about 40% of the total investment products and almost 50% of the total assets above $2 billion. Canada is home to one of the world’s first Bitcoin ETFs, the Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC) from Purpose Investments. It trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and launched in February 2021. With over $819 million in assets, it is today’s most prominent spot Bitcoin ETF.
Other spot BTC ETFs in Canada:
- CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCX.B) from CI Global Asset Management launched in March 2021. It has more than $569 million in total assets.
- The Bitcoin Fund (QBTC) from 3iQ Digital Asset Management launched in April 2020 with more than $235 million in total assets.
- 3iQ Bitcoin ETF (BTCQ) from 3iQ Digital Asset Management launched in December 2020 and has more than $128 million in total assets.
- Evolve Bitcoin ETF (EBIT) from Evolve, which launched in February 2021 and has more than $126 million in total assets.
- Fidelity launched Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF (FBTC) in November 2021 and has $98 million in total assets.
- BetaPro Inverse Bitcoin ETF (BITI) launched in April 2021 and has more than $24.5 million in total assets.
Germany has a single spot in Bitcoin ETF, the ETC Group Physical Bitcoin (BTCE), launched in June 2020 and has 100% exposure to BTC. BTCE is the second largest worldwide, with over $802 million in total assets. The fund, the only one regulated in Germany, has ETC Group as issuer and BitGo Trust Company as custodian. It trades on the Deutsche Börse XETRA exchange.
In South American territory, Brazil stands out as the only country that has this type of BTC investment product. Brazil has two Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds. One is the Hashdex Nasdaq Bitcoin ETF (BITH11), which was launched in August 2021. It is listed as Brazil’s first green Bitcoin ETF due to its focus on investing in carbon credits to reduce its carbon footprint. The digital asset manager Hashdex powers the BITH11. BITH11’s total assets exceed $260 million; you can trade it on the São Paulo Stock Exchange (B3).
Australia’s only Bitcoin spot ETF, the Global X 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (EBTC). Promoters launched it in May 2022 by New York-based ETF provider Global X Management. The fund uses crypto-exchange Coinbase as custodian and trades on the Cboe. The fund’s total assets exceed $12 million.
The principality of Liechtenstein also stands out in the list of countries where you can trade a spot Bitcoin ETF. As of November 2020, the VanEck Bitcoin ETN, powered by VanEck, has become another spot BTC investment product in Europe. The fund is an exchange-traded note (ETN) traded as an ETF on different exchanges. In terms of total assets, it is one of the largest in the world, with more than $218 million.
Jersey, Guernsey and Cayman Islands
A highlight for spot Bitcoin ETFs in Europe is the presence of many of them in territories considered tax havens, as 9 out of 10 funds reside in one of them, according to CoinGecko data. In this regard, the British Crown Dependent Autonomous Territories of Jersey and Guernsey, two of the three central Channel Islands, have 4 and 3 Bitcoin spot ETFs, respectively. The four spot Bitcoin ETFs in Jersey are CoinShares Physical Bitcoin (BITC), WisdomTree Physical Bitcoin (BTCW), Invesco Physical Bitcoin (BTIC), and Valour Bitcoin Carbon Neutral (1VBT), collectively totaling over $748 million in total assets.
Meanwhile, Guernsey is home to the SEBA Bitcoin ETP (SBTCU), SEBA Bitcoin CHF Hedged ETP (SBTCC), and the Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF spot Bitcoin ETF (BCOIN), powered by Jacobi Asset Management. These products add up to more than $70 million in assets under maintenance. Finally, another British autonomous territory that joins the list is the Cayman Islands. It is a tax haven in the Caribbean, domiciles the Valour Bitcoin Zero, which trades on European exchanges such as Euronext in Amsterdam and Paris Börse Frankfurt. It has about $5 million in total assets.