The Leading Crypto ETFs and Their Potential

crypto etfs

Since their introduction, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have revolutionized the investment world. They offer a way for investors to buy and sell a basket of assets without purchasing each component individually. The ability to diversify your portfolio while still being able to buy and sell at any point during the market day is a powerful tool for novice and experienced investors. This diversification is not just theoretical but is backed by real-world results. For instance, while Bitcoin had an impressive yearly return of 121% last year, the VanEck Crypto & Blockchain Innovator ETF (AUSD) outperformed it with a return of 254%. This demonstrates the potential of ETFs to provide superior returns and further diversify an investor’s portfolio   

Evaluating ETF Performance

When it comes to evaluating the performance of an ETF, there are several key factors to consider. It’s not just about looking at the highest returns but also understanding the risks involved and the consistency of those returns. Here’s how you can assess which ETF is performing well in the market:

  • Total Returns: It reflects an ETF’s performance, including capital gains and dividends.
  • Risk-Adjusted Returns: It considers the level of risk involved in achieving returns. The Sharpe Ratio is a standard measure.
  • Consistency of Returns: ETFs that provide steady returns are preferred over those with high fluctuations.
  • Expense Ratio: Measure of what it costs an investment company to operate a mutual fund, expressed as a percentage of the fund’s total assets.
  • Tracking Error: A measure of how closely an ETF replicates its index. Lower is better.
  • Assets Under Management (AUM): ETFs with larger AUMs often have more liquidity, leading to lower transaction costs.

Exceptional ETFs of the Past 12 Months

Some ETFs have stood out with exceptional performance over the past year. Let’s take a closer look at these high performers: 

VanEck Crypto & Blockchain Innovator (ETF AUSD)

  • Total Return 2023: 254.88%
  • Standard Deviation 2023: 80.94%
  • Management Fee: 0.65%

Performance Highlights: VanEck Crypto& Blockchain Innovator ETF AUSD has outshone its peers in the technology sector, posting a staggering total return of 254.88% in 2023. Despite the volatility in the crypto and blockchain space, this ETF delivered exceptional returns while maintaining a relatively moderate standard deviation of 80.94%. The 0.65% management fee is reasonable, considering the remarkable performance.

Global X Blockchain ETF (USD Acc)

  • Total Return 2023: 246.95%
  • Standard Deviation 2023: 85.61%
  • Management Fee: 0.50%

Performance Highlights: Global X Blockchain ETF USD Acc has mirrored the upward trajectory of blockchain technology, boasting a total return of 246.95% in 2023. Despite the slightly higher standard deviation of 85.61%, the fund’s management fee is a mere 0.50%, making it an attractive option for investors seeking exposure to the rapidly evolving world of blockchain.

XBT Provider Bitcoin Tracker (EUR ETN)

  • Total Return 2023: 161.28%
  • Standard Deviation 2023: 53.65%
  • Management Fee: 2.50%

Performance Highlights: XBT Provider Bitcoin Tracker EUR ETN has been a standout performer in cryptocurrency, delivering a robust total return of 161.28%. While the management fee is relatively higher at 2.50%, the fund’s lower standard deviation of 53.65% indicates stability compared to other Bitcoin-tracking instruments.

Grayscale Future of Finance ETF (USD Acc)

  • Total Return 2023: 127.74%
  • Standard Deviation 2023: 65.79%
  • Management Fee: 0.70%

Performance Highlights: Grayscale Future of Finance ETF USD Acc navigated the financial services sector admirably, achieving a total return of 127.74% in 2023. With a moderate standard deviation of 65.79%, investors can appreciate the balance between risk and return. The 0.70% management fee adds to the appeal of this ETF.

ETC Group Digital Assets & Blockchain Equity ETF ($Acc)

  • Total Return 2023: 122.31%
  • Standard Deviation 2023: 55.29%
  • Management Fee: 0.60%

Performance Highlights: ETC Grp Dgtl Assts & Blckchn Eq ETF $Acc has solidified its position in the technology sector, delivering a commendable total return of 122.31% in 2023. With a lower standard deviation of 55.29%, this ETF strikes a balance between growth and stability. The 0.60% management fee further enhances its attractiveness to investors.

The Rise of Crypto ETFs

Crypto ETFs have made a significant impact on the investment landscape. In January 2024, U.S. regulators allowed exchange-traded products tied directly to the day-to-day movement of bitcoin prices, known as spot prices. This development has opened the door to cryptocurrencies for many new investors who don’t want to take the extra steps involved in buying actual Bitcoin. The decision marked a significant milestone in integrating cryptocurrencies into mainstream finance.

The number of crypto ETFs has seen a substantial increase in recent months following regulatory changes. Both retail and institutional investors have shown significant interest in these financial products. This is clearly demonstrated by the rapid growth in the assets under management (AUM) of these ETFs. For instance, as of February 8, 2024, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) has an AUM of ~$28.58 billion. Similarly, the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) has an AUM of ~$3.55 billion.  

The Potential of Crypto ETFs

Crypto ETFs offer several benefits. They provide diversification, simplicity, and security. Moreover, with cryptocurrencies offering higher historical returns over the past decade, even a small allocation to crypto can potentially enhance an ETF’s returns. As of February 2024, some of the best-performing Bitcoin ETFs include the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) with $28.6 billion AUM, iShares Bitcoin Trust ETF (IBIT) with $2.7 billion AUM, and Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO) with $300 million AUM.

The potential of crypto ETFs extends beyond just returns. They offer investors a way to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency market without the need to handle the complexities of buying and storing cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, they are traded on traditional exchanges, providing the benefits of regulated financial markets, such as liquidity and transparency.

Future Performance of Crypto ETFs

Predicting the exact future returns of crypto ETFs is challenging due to the inherent volatility of cryptocurrencies. However, several factors could influence their performance. These include regulatory changes, technological advancements, and market trends. For instance, BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF was the first to reach $2B in AUM.

The future of crypto ETFs is also closely tied to the broader cryptocurrency market. As the adoption of cryptocurrencies continues to grow and more use cases emerge, the demand for crypto ETFs is likely to increase. However, potential investors should be aware of the risks involved, including regulatory risks and the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies.


The world of ETFs is dynamic and ever-evolving, with Crypto ETFs being the latest entrant making waves. The past year has seen some ETFs delivering exceptional returns, demonstrating the potential of this investment vehicle. Crypto ETFs, in particular, have shown promising growth and offer a new avenue for investors to gain exposure to the burgeoning cryptocurrency market.

However, as with any investment, it’s crucial to understand that returns are not guaranteed and come with risks. Factors such as regulatory changes, technological advancements, and market trends can significantly influence the performance of these ETFs. Therefore, thorough research and understanding are key before making any investment decisions. The future of ETFs, particularly Crypto ETFs, looks promising, but it’s a journey filled with uncertainties and opportunities.

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