Why are traders flocking to a bitcoin ETF when they can hold the cryptocurrency directly? The answer comes down to trust
The new bitcoin ETFs are close to the Platonic ideal of two things at the heart of the financial industry, arbitrage and gambling. And a third thing: Without the distortions the financial industry created in the first place, they would have no reason to exist.
The whole concept of a bitcoin ETF is odd. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency; it’s easy to buy and, for individuals who want to speculate on its future value, easy to hold. All you have to do is download some software, pick a secure password, sign up to a crypto broker, transfer the bitcoin into your blockchain wallet and you’re done. If you wanted a traditional currency you wouldn’t pay a 0.95% annual fee, plus hefty futures costs, to get something that roughly tracks the value of a dollar—you’d just hold some dollars.