Spot Bitcoin ETF Race Narrows to IBIT vs. FBTC

Funds from BlackRock and Fidelity—the biggest issuers—separate from the pack.

sumit
|
Senior ETF Analyst
|
Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
,
Edited by: Ron Day

Spot bitcoin ETFs from the largest issuers are separating themselves from the pack of 10 that launched earlier this month, as the race for billions of investor dollars flowing into the crypto investments begins to declare winners and losers.

The iShares Bitcoin ETF (IBIT) and the Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC) have gathered $2.8 billion and $2.2 billion in assets under management, respectively, since their Jan. 11 debut, according to Bloomberg data.

Each of those totals is larger than the next seven spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds combined. The ARK 21 Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB) and the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (BITB) have $662 million and $634 million in AUM, respectively, while the rest of the pack has $307 million or less. 

 

Fund Data

Fund NameTickerAUM ($million)
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust BTCGBTC21,215
iShares Bitcoin TrustIBIT2,769
Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin FundFBTC2,201
ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETFARKB662
Bitwise Bitcoin ETFBITB634
Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin EtfBTCO307
VanEck Bitcoin TrustHODL128
Valkyrie Bitcoin FundBRRR115
Franklin Bitcoin ETFEZBC62
WisdomTree Bitcoin FundBTCW11

 

The outcome may not necessarily surprise anyone. BlackRock was expected to eventually take the spot bitcoin ETF crown thanks to its position as the largest asset manager in the world, as well as the largest ETF issuer in the U.S. 

And as the third largest brokerage firm with a massive asset management business of its own, Fidelity was also anticipated to be a big player in the space. 

IBIT, FBTC Go for the Spot Bitcoin ETF Gold

As expectations are now being met, the gap between IBIT, FBTC and the rest of the pack will likely widen. Still, when or if either of those ETFs grabs the spot bitcoin ETF crown from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is open to debate. 

Since its conversion into an ETF, investors have pulled $5.5 billion out of GBTC, pushing its AUM down to $21.2 billion, according to Bloomberg data. But that still leaves it 10 times bigger than Fidelity’s ETF and almost eight times bigger than BlackRock’s fund. 

The outflows from GBTC are already slowing. Most investors who were going to swap out of the relatively-expensive GBTC and into cheaper alternatives have already done so, while arbitrageurs who bought the trust at a discount before its conversion have already locked in their gains.

On the other hand anyone interested in investing in bitcoin through ETFs probably won’t choose GBTC over its competitors due to its high fees, so it’s unlikely that the trust sees substantial inflows anytime soon.

What’s at Stake 

Still, IBIT or FBTC taking over GBTC as the largest spot bitcoin ETF will take time. Assuming prices for bitcoin stay flat, it would take almost $20 billion of inflows for either ETF to eclipse GBTC in terms of total assets. 

If bitcoin prices rise, it will take even larger inflows since GBTC’s AUM will disproportionately benefit from that increase (a 10% increase in GBTC’s AUM is $2.1 billion, while the same increase in IBIT’s AUM is only $200 million). 

The task becomes easier if bitcoin prices fall. In that scenario, GBTC’s AUM will decline faster than that of either IBIT or FBTC (on a dollar basis), closing the gap between the funds.

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, 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 etf.com, 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 etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’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, etf.com’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.