Everything to know about Cathie Wood’s new Bitcoin ETF

June 29, 2021, 5:48 PM UTC

Cathie Wood, one of the most vocal and longstanding Bitcoin bulls, wants to help create a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. 21Shares proposed the ETF Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Wood’s ARK Invest will assist with the marketing of the ETF.

Wood is one of many fund managers who’s interested in a fund centered on cryptocurrencies, but she’s also one of the most prominent. And this one, called the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, will be one of the most closely watched. But it’s not a sure thing. The Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF.

If the idea of a crypto ETF sounds appealing, though, here are a few things to know about what Wood has in mind.

Will ARK Invest’s ETF fund face competition?

Assuming the SEC gives the green light to Bitcoin and other crypto ETFs, the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF will hardly be alone. Fidelity, Greyscale Investments, WidomTree, VanEck, and NYDIG all have pending registrations. In fact, at least 14 issuers have reportedly filed for a Bitcoin-themed ETF—and over a half-dozen others have withdrawn their filings or seen them rejected.

When will the SEC decide if it will allow crypto ETFs?

No one really knows. The SEC has kicked the decision down the road a few times. Earlier this month, it delayed a decision on a proposal by Cboe Global Markets, seeking more public comment. And six days ago, it extended its decision window on a proposal from Valkyrie Digital Assets until Aug. 10. (The decision on the VanEck Bitcoin Trust has been delayed twice so far.)

That has been frustrating for Bitcoin enthusiasts who thought SEC Chair Gary Gensler, a former teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specializing in digital assets, would move faster to approve these. The lack of oversight on cryptocurrencies continues to worry federal authorities, however.

Exactly how bullish is Cathie Wood about Bitcoin?

Wood is one of cryptocurrency’s biggest boosters. She has predicted Bitcoin will go as high as $500,000, even with its recent loss of nearly 50% of its value from its high. And when concerns arose over China’s crackdown on Bitcoin and increased domestic calls for government regulation, she said it was “already on its way and it’ll be impossible to shut it down.”

What are the risk factors of a Bitcoin ETF?

As you’ve seen in the past month, anything that’s tied to Bitcoin or cryptocurrency risks volatility. And the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF warns potential investors about momentum pricing and that if people fail to use Bitcoin to buy and sell goods (something that’s still very rare), it could hurt the fund.

So could the loss of the private key tied to its digital wallet—or a failure to monitor and upgrade the Bitcoin network protocol. And, of course, possible competition from central banks launching their own digital currencies could adversely affect Bitcoin values and impact investors.

The list of potential risks in the SEC filing is extensive, spanning 30 pages.

What will the Bitcoin ETF’s ticker symbol be?

The ETF will trade under the symbol ARKB.

What is 21Shares?

21Shares is the issuer of 11 exchange-traded products (ETPs) in European markets. It has ETPs on exchanges in both Switzerland and Germany. Founded in 2018 by Hany Rashwan, who is currently CEO, it was originally called Amun. It is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, and has offices throughout Europe and in New York. The company currently has $2 billion in assets under management, a marked increase from $27 million last March.

In May, Wood joined the board of 21Shares’ parent company.

Will the ETF buy or share Bitcoin directly?

It doesn’t appear so. In its SEC filing, the company said, “Barring the liquidation of the Trust or extraordinary circumstances, the [ETF] will not purchase or sell Bitcoin directly, although [21Shares] will transfer or sell Bitcoin to pay certain expenses.”

Correction, June 30, 2021: This article has been updated to accurately reflect which company filed the ETF.

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