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How to Invest in Bitcoin & Crypto ETF: 2021 Guide

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With all the recent interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies investments, it comes as no surprise that some investors are looking for various funds based on digital assets. However, finding cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can be difficult, especially since something like a Bitcoin ETF still hasn’t been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to invest in a blockchain ETF. Here’s what you need to know about investing in crypto ETF.

What Is a Bitcoin ETF?

Basically, a Bitcoin ETF is an exchange-traded fund that is based on Bitcoin. However, efforts to get a Bitcoin ETF approved by the SEC have failed. So crypto ETFs aren’t available as U.S. investments at this time.

However, just because crypto ETFs aren’t available in the U.S. doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In fact, there’s a Bitcoin ETF available in Germany, where it’s structured very similarly to how gold ETFs are managed. And in Canada, there is both a Bitcoin ETF and an Ethereum ETF.

For example, the crypto ETF BTCE actually is based on Bitcoin that’s kept in a cold wallet. And it’s possible to even get insight into what’s actually being held by the custodian. A gold ETF often has a bar list where you can see specifically what is held by the custodian. With BTCE, it’s possible to get an idea of the provenance of the holdings, even if you can’t see everything as an exact list.

What Is a Blockchain ETF?

Blockchain etfA blockchain ETF is different from a cryptocurrency ETF. With blockchain ETFs, you’re buying shares of a fund that focuses on companies that are developing blockchain technology or using it in some way. This type of ETF focuses on the technology underlying cryptocurrencies.

So even though you can’t get a Bitcoin ETF or other cryptocurrency ETF in the U.S., you can invest in a blockchain ETF.

For example, ETF BLOK holds assets related to blockchain development, such as software companies, financial services companies, and even the media industry. Rather than being based on the cryptocurrencies themselves, it’s more about the technology that supports them. As a result, it’s easier to get these ETFs approved in the U.S. because they are based on companies, not on crypto assets.

Another blockchain ETF available in the U.S. is BLCN. This tracks an index that follows the performance of companies that are involved in various aspects of blockchain development and support. For example, BLCN holds stock in Canaan Inc. (CAN). This company provides microprocessors for supercomputing hardware. This type of hardware is used in mining cryptocurrency coins and provides the computing power to process blockchain transactions.

So buying such an ETF won’t provide you with exposure to cryptocurrencies. But it offers you a chance to invest in companies that are part of the technology.

How to Buy a Bitcoin ETF

Pay with BitcoinIf you want to buy a Bitcoin ETF, you have to jump through a few hoops to make it happen. First of all, the Bitcoin ETF BTCE is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Even though it’s not listed on a U.S. exchange, you may still be able to buy shares.

  • Depending on your broker, you may be able to open a foreign securities account and use that to purchase shares on other exchanges. However, you have to take into account foreign currency transaction fees and exchange rates.
  • Additionally, note that some Bitcoin ETFs have a higher expense ratio than what you’d see with a lot of other ETFs. So be prepared for higher costs if you decide to go this route.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Invest in a Blockchain ETF

If you decide to invest in a blockchain ETF rather than looking for a crypto ETF, you’re likely to have an easier time. After all, U.S. exchanges list blockchain ETFs. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Open a Brokerage Account

In order to buy shares of any ETF, you need to open a brokerage account. There are a number of accounts available, including online discount brokers like Robinhood and Stash, as well as more traditional brokers like Fidelity and Charles Schwab. Figure out what’s likely to work for you. Then open an account where it makes sense for your portfolio. You can also try one of these services:

2. Decide How Much You Want to Invest

Next, determine how much you want to invest in a blockchain ETF. Look at the rest of your investment portfolio and figure out where a blockchain ETF fits with your strategy and long-term goals. Then allocate a set amount of money to buy shares of the ETF.

3. Search for the Ticker Symbol

Look for the ticker symbol for your desired blockchain ETF. Once you know the ticker symbol, see how many shares (or fractional shares) your money will buy. For example, if you decide to buy shares of BLOK at $52 and you have $120 to spend, you may be able to purchase 2.3 shares of the ETF. If you can’t purchase fractional shares, you’ll have to be content with two shares for now and leave the rest until the next time you make a purchase.

4. Place a Market Order

Once you know how many shares you can buy, place a market order for the ETF. Because ETFs trade like stocks, your broker should be able to execute the order fairly quickly during regular market hours.

5. Set Up an Automatic Investing Plan

Set up an automatic investing plan with your broker if you want to buy more shares of a blockchain ETF on a regular basis. Transfer money into your account on a regular basis and use the money to buy as many shares of the ETF as possible.

Further Reading: How to Invest in Bitcoin

Benefits vs. Risks of Buying Cryptocurrency ETF Funds

Bitcoin etf riskAny time you invest, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks involved. Any investment comes with an element of risk. No matter the asset, you could potentially lose money.

  • However, there are additional risks that come if you invest in something relatively new. While blockchain technology is promising, it has yet to prove long-term staying power. Investing now could allow you the chance to get in on the ground floor of blockchain technology and potentially reap the gains later.
  • Additionally, if you manage to invest in a Bitcoin ETF and the price of Bitcoin continues to rise – or if cryptocurrencies, in general, become an accepted asset class – your investment could pay off in a big way.
  • On the other hand, cryptos may not take off, blockchain technology could be replaced by something else, and you could lose your money. Carefully consider this as you move forward. And make sure that you have a properly diversified portfolio so you aren’t too reliant on one asset class.


Bitcoin ETFs and other cryptocurrency ETFs aren’t available on U.S. exchanges right now. Instead, if you want to invest, you need to find a way to purchase shares on a foreign exchange.

However, it is possible to buy shares of blockchain ETFs in the U.S. because they focus on companies that develop or support the underlying technology.

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