BlackRock, Grayscale Lead Day 1 of Spot Bitcoin ETF Race

BlackRock, Grayscale Lead Day 1 of Spot Bitcoin ETF Race

$4.7 bln of spot bitcoin ETFs have traded today, with the big funds pulling in the most money.

Senior ETF Analyst
Reviewed by: Staff
Edited by: Ron Day

The highly anticipated first day of trading for spot bitcoin ETFs didn’t disappoint. 

At the end of the trading day on Thursday, 11 spot bitcoin ETFs had collectively traded more than $4.7 billion—a staggering sum for a group of brand-new exchange-traded funds. 

But trading activity in the ETFs was far from evenly distributed, as funds from big fund managers like BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity Investments dominated, while funds from smaller issuers like Valkyrie Funds and Hashdex were largely ignored.  

However, a few ETF issuers managed to punch well above their weight, suggesting that the spot bitcoin ETF race is far from over.  

GBTC Takes Blows in Spot Bitcoin ETF Trading

At the top of the pack on Thursday was the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which traded a whopping $2.3 billion worth of shares. 

GBTC came into the day with a huge advantage: it had already amassed more than $28 billion in assets under management thanks to its decade of existence on the over-the-counter markets.  

But GBTC also had a major disadvantage versus its competitors: it charges an annual fee of 1.5%, a whopping 60 basis points above the next-most-expensive spot bitcoin ETF and significantly more than the cheapest ETF in the group which charges 0.2%.  

Some have speculated that because of that hefty fee, most of the volume in GBTC on Thursday was from investors selling the fund to swap into cheaper alternatives.  

Additional selling pressure might have come from arbitrageurs and traders who purchased the trust when it was trading at a discount and locked in their gains as that discount disappeared. 

The Winners 

After GBTC, the next-most-traded spot bitcoin ETFs on Thursday were the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) and the Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin ETF (FBTC), which traded $1 billion and $713 million worth of shares, respectively. 

These are the two funds with arguably the best name recognition and certainly the best distribution, and they’ve clearly capitalized on those advantages.  

Perhaps more interestingly, the ARK 21 Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB) managed to find itself in the top half of trading volume with an impressive $289 million worth of shares traded.  

Cathie Woods is a marketing wizard and her ubiquitous presence in the media clearly paid off with ARKB punching well above its weight.  

Another ETF in a similar situation is the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (BITB), which had volume of $126 million on Thursday. BITB came into the day with the cheapest expense ratio of the group and a clever marketing strategy that features “The Most Interesting Man in the World” of Dos Equis beer fame.  

The Losers 

For the rest of the spot bitcoin ETFs, the results were anywhere from mediocre to disappointing. The Franklin Bitcoin ETF (EZBC), which traded $65 million, did okay all things considered.  

But the $46 million for the Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO) was a bit underwhelming considering Invesco’s position as the fourth-largest ETF issuer.  

Likewise, the $26 million and $7 million of volume for the VanEck Bitcoin Trust (HODL) and the WisdomTree Bitcoin Fund (BTCW) were probably much lower than the issuers of those funds had hoped for.    
Embarrassingly, even the Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund (BRRR), which traded $9 million worth of shares on the day, managed to beat out the WisdomTree fund, while the Hashdex Bitcoin ETF (DEFI), with volume of $5 million, wasn't far behind.  

TickerFund NameDollar Volume
DEFIHashdex Bitcoin Futures ETF4,540,853

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays,’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.