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Cryptocurrency exchange traded funds/notes/products are perfect for investors looking for familiar entry points into Bitcoin and popular cryptocurrencies.

This guide will introduce you to the latest cryptocurrency ETFs that allow you to invest directly in bitcoin/cottage coins without the need for a bitcoin wallet or cryptocurrency exchange.

Cryptocurrency ETF/ETN/ETP List

21 shares of Ether ETP

  • Event Date: March 2019
  • Fund Size: $349 million
  • Total expense ratio: 1.49%
  • Return in 2021: 465.39%

21Shares is one of the most prolific providers of cryptocurrency ETFs in recent years. The Swiss company's Ether vehicle is one of the older cryptocurrency ETFs on the market. Among the many bitcoin and cryptocurrency ETFs operated by 21Shares, the largest upside return for the Ether ETP was 868.69%. (BMJ Rating: 4.7)

21Shares Cryptocurrency Basket Index ETP

  • Event Date: November 2018
  • Fund Size: $152 million
  • Total cost rate: 2.50%
  • Return in 2021: 242.05%

Instead of tracking a single cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, this ETP from 21Shares tracks the top 5 tokens (based on current prices and projected 2050 supply) based on their market capitalization in 2050. Three cryptocurrencies dominate this ETP – Bitcoin (45.25%), Ether (20.52) and Polkadot (24.36%). It does charge high fees compared to other cryptocurrency ETFs. However, the cumulative return of the cryptocurrency basket index ETP since its inception is 568%. (BMJ Rating: 4.4)

Wisdom Tree Bitcoin

  • Event Date: November 2019
  • Fund size: $314 million
  • Total cost rate: 0.95%
  • Return rate in 2021: 121.45%

As the name implies, this is an ETP physically backed by Bitcoin and professionally protected in "cold storage". The "NAV" or daily value of the ETP is calculated by multiplying the per share entitlement of Bitcoin by an established index – the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate. The WisdomTree Bitcoin ETP combines low fees and competitive returns in the cryptocurrency ETF scenario – a cumulative 399.65% since inception. (BMJ score: 4.2)

BTCetc – ETC Group Physical Bitcoin

  • Event date: June 2020
  • Fund Size: $1.113 billion
  • Total cost rate: 2.00%
  • Return rate in 2021: 125.96%

ETC Group is at the forefront of the cryptocurrency ETF market with $1.113 billion in total assets under management. BTCetc ETP leads the Bitcoin-backed ETF space in terms of annual returns and is ahead of similar instruments in 2021. Cumulative returns are 397%, but fees are high. (BMJ Rating: 4.2)

VanEck Vectors Ether ETN

  • Event date: March 2021
  • Fund size: $90 million
  • Total cost rate: 1.00%
  • Return rate in 2021: 83.95%

Although VanEck Corporation is a well-known ETF provider based in New York, their cryptocurrency ETF is domiciled in Liechtenstein. The Vectors Ethereum ETN matches the performance of the established MVETHV index. The Vectors ETH vehicle features low fees and has performed in line with the best ethereum ETFs on the market to date – returning 90% in 3 months and 60% in 6 months. (BMJ score: 4.2)

21 Shares Bitcoin ETP

  • Event Date: February 2019
  • Fund Size: $283 million
  • Total expense ratio: 1.49%
  • Return rate in 2021: 124.82%

The 21Shares version of the Bitcoin ETP follows almost the same growth trajectory as the WisdomTree ETP. This is not surprising, as both ETFs are backed by physical bitcoin holdings. The 21Shares vehicle does have a slightly higher ETR, with a few percentage points higher returns. (BMJ score: 4.1)

Coinshares Physical Ether

  • Event date: February 2021
  • Fund Size: $193 million
  • Total cost rate: 1.25%
  • Return rate in 2021: 86.01%

One of the younger cryptocurrency ETFs on our list, this ethereum-backed instrument from Coinshares is recognized based on the long-term prospects of ETH. In addition, Coinshares is a pioneer in cryptocurrency ETFs, having launched the first bitcoin-based instrument on a regulated exchange in 2014. The physical ethereum ETN earned a modest 73% return in 3 months and a modest 47% return in 6 months. By comparison, 21Shares' top-ranked ETH instruments accounted for 90% and 62%, respectively, in the same time frame. (BMJ score: 4.0)

21Shares Tezos ETP

  • Event Date: November 2019
  • Fund size: $44 million
  • Total cost rate: 2.50%
  • Return in 2021: 258.89%

Tezos is one of the smaller cryptocurrency marketplaces, with a market cap of just $5.9 billion. But it has shown growth potential recently, tripling in value between 2019 and 2020. The 21Shares ETP on this cryptocurrency is an interesting option, currently returning 275% annually since its inception. (BMJ Rating: 3.8)

21 Shares Bitcoin Cash ETP

  • Event Date: July 2019
  • Fund Size: $12.76 million
  • Total cost rate: 2.50%
  • Return rate in 2021: 82.90%

Bitcoin Cash (BCC), created from a fork of the original Bitcoin in 2017, is a cottage coin with a market cap of about $11 billion in 2021. 21Shares ETP has a cumulative growth rate of 133.27%. The BCC ETF may be an interesting option for investors who follow cryptocurrency ETFs that track cottage coins in addition to the two giants (bitcoin and ethereum). (BMJ Rating: 3.5)

ETHetc – ETC Group Physical Ether

  • Event date: February 2021
  • Fund Size: $227 million
  • Total expense ratio: 1.49%
  • Return rate in 2021: 79.68%

ETC Group's Ether ETN is another new tool that will be launched in 2021. ETH has a place on this list due to its relative reliability relative to other cryptocurrencies and ETC Group's credentials in the cryptocurrency ETF market. Since its launch, the instrument's returns have kept pace with market trends, growing by 90.40% in a few months and 60% in six months. (BMJ Rating: 4.1)

Most cryptocurrency ETFs/ETNs/ETPs are traded on established European exchanges such as XETRA in Germany, SIX Swiss in Switzerland, Euronext Paris in France and Euronext Amsterdam in the Netherlands. They are all 100% backed by specialized "cold storage funds backed by bitcoin, ethereum or other cryptocurrencies held in "cold storage", reflecting the performance of major cryptocurrency indices.

This list does not include ETFs with indirect exposure to bitcoin/cottage coins through stocks with technology or business models related to cryptocurrencies.

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We select the top cryptocurrency ETFs based on a comparison of age, year-over-year performance and total expense ratio (TER). Most of the top cryptocurrency ETFs are backed by bitcoin or ethereum, which is not surprising since they are major cryptocurrencies with an established base and high visibility.

However, newer cryptocurrency ETFs backed by cryptocurrencies such as Cardano, Tezos and Polkadot have emerged. Given the relative obscurity and increased risk of smaller cryptocurrencies and the lack of any ETF performance data for comparison, we have chosen not to consider them in our review process at this time.

As the scene matures and cryptocurrency-based ETFs add solid growth and performance data, we will update our ratings to include them. That said, if you're new to the cryptocurrency ETF market, it's best to stick with bitcoin and ethereum-based instruments for the foreseeable future.

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To learn more about the basics of investing in Bitcoin ETFs, check out our in-depth guide on the process here. If you found the information provided here helpful, please consider subscribing to the Bitcoin Market Journal for daily blockchain market updates.