What Are Crypto ETFs?

Casimir Stone
October 28, 2021

ETFs are exchange-traded funds — so, basically, stocks, but like, a group of ones from a similar sector, not just a specific stock. The first SEC-friendly Bitcoin futures ETF, ProShares, started trading this Tuesday. Their mission (let me know if you’ve heard this one before) is to introduce consumers to Bitcoin in a liquid and transparent manner and pave the way for mainstream crypto adoption. So, yeah, basically what every other blockchain startup’s already doing, but now, with the government on board. Nothing says ‘fuck the system’ like ‘Security and Exchange Commission approved’. 

The NTF applications will ring the same (alarm) bells. Otis, the so-called ‘Stock Market of Culture’, now includes NTFs as a registered security. The platform fractionalizes ownership of art, collectibles, hypebeast grails, action figures, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and now, Chromie Squiggles and 8-bit profile pictures. This means you can buy shares of the above, with a platform to trade them on, because the only thing better than owning your own shiny Charizard is owning a fraction of one.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Fractional, NFTX, Unicly, and the previously-covered Async have been doing variations of the same thing for some time now. Likewise, ProShares is far from the first business to attempt to bring crypto into the mainstream. (You’re looking at one.) But they are the first to do it by bowing to, rather than bucking, government regulations.

Investors have poured a record $1.5b into crypto funds to celebrate the fact that the government officially fucks with the blockchain now too. To some, this development is promising. The DeFi sphere’s lack of security is its biggest barrier to entry. And the high risk associated with the possibility that the government will up and make the whole sector illegal is looking less risky each day.

But to many, the anti-institutional bent and potential to counteract systemic oppression is what made crypto so attractive in the first place. And if, as our resident conspiracy theorist maintains, the powers that be have really been surfing on crypto from the beginning, this starts to look less like a perfect wave, more like a hurricane. 

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