World’s First Bitcoin ETF Has Lost 20% of Assets Since BlackRock Approval

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World's First Bitcoin ETF Has Lost 20% of Assets Since BlackRock Approval
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The Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC) – the world’s first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund – has struggled to compete with its U.S. counterparts since its January debut.

The Canadian fund has lost 20% of its Bitcoin (BTC) under management over the past three months, despite rising demand and record-high prices for the asset during that time.

Purpose Is Losing Bitcoin

According to Purpose Investments’ website, the company held 27,871 BTC, worth $2.56 billion CAD ($1.89 billion USD) as of April 4.

In BTC terms, the amount is fairly average by historical standards. Since launching in February 2021, the firm’s holdings have mostly oscillated between 20,000 and 40,000 BTC, remaining relatively stagnant throughout 2023 at around 23,000.

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That began to change halfway through the year after BlackRock, Fidelity, and others filed to launch their own spot Bitcoin ETFs.

When Grayscale won its lawsuit against regulators later in the year, money began to flood back into Bitcoin funds – including Purpose – on optimism that the ETFs might finally be approved, bringing new demand to Bitcoin and boosting its price.

That prediction proved true: since the U.S. ETFs went live on January 11, they’ve absorbed over $12 billion in net flows. Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s price has risen above $67,000, up 53% year to date and 143% in the last six months.

However, after peaking at 35,706 BTC on January 5, the Purpose Bitcoin ETF has suffered a slow but steady drip of near non-stop outflows.

Comparing Purpose And Grayscale

Its losses are reminiscent of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, whose Bitcoin holdings have nearly halved since January 11, and has only suffered daily outflows after converting into an ETF.

Both Grayscale and Purpose suffer a similar issue: both charge 1.5% and 1.0% management fees, respectively – far higher than their newborn competitors. BlackRock, for example, charges a 0.25% fee, while VanEck’s fund has temporarily waived its fee entirely.

This leaves little incentive for new BTC investors to choose Purpose and Grayscale over competitors. Meanwhile, as Bitcoin’s price appreciates, older investors in both funds are incentivized to cash out on their gains.

Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnhenshein has now confirmed that his fund’s fees will come down with time. Purpose has made no such promises.

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