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Bitcoin ETF or Direct Bitcoin ownership?




Former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas is famous in the Bitcoin community for having acquired 7,0002 BTC in 2011, but lost the password of his encrypted hard drive. However, his bitcoins are now worth 350 million dollars and he has two attempts left to guess his password before the encrypted key locks him out of his holdings. Stefan Thomas’s story is one amongst many others that reminds us of the risks of direct acquisition and management of Bitcoin.

Nevertheless, this story, and many more, is where Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) come into play, offering a bridge between traditional investment mechanisms and the new age digital currency space. So, what would be the verdict about Bitcoin ETF vs Ownership? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of reasons why considering a Bitcoin ETF could be a smarter choice than buying Bitcoin directly.

Stefan Thomas

Simplified Investment Process

Investing in a Bitcoin ETF streamlines the investment process. Additionally, unlike direct Bitcoin purchases, which require a digital wallet and an understanding of the cryptocurrency exchange landscape, buying a Bitcoin ETF is as simple as trading stocks on a traditional exchange. Consequently, this simplicity opens the door for ETF traders and traditional investors to participate in Bitcoin’s potential upside without needing to navigate the complexities of the crypto world.

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Enhanced Security

Security concerns are paramount in the cryptocurrency sphere. Direct holders of Bitcoin face risks such as hacking, loss of private keys, and the absence of regulatory oversight.

Security within the cryptocurrency realm also encompasses the entire investment process. Moreover, the act of wiring funds to exchanges is risky. Specifically, investors wiring money to purchase Bitcoin directly must navigate potential threats. These threats include exchange vulnerabilities, fraudulent platforms, and the instability of transfer processes. Additionally, timing is critical due to volatile exchange rates.

Moreover, the direct transfer of funds to exchanges carries operational risks, such as delays and technical failures, which can result in financial losses. Additionally, these transactions often lack the regulatory safety net that traditional financial transfers benefit from, exposing investors to a spectrum of risks.

Bitcoin ETFs, managed by regulated institutions, mitigate these risks. Additionally, investors gain exposure to Bitcoin’s price movements without the burden of securing their assets personally or wiring funds to third parties. Furthermore, ETFs come with the added protection of being part of a regulated financial system, offering peace of mind to cautious investors.

Tax Efficiency

Navigating the tax implications of trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can be daunting. Moreover, each transaction may be a taxable event, and tracking every trade to report gains or losses can become complicated very quickly, especially for active traders. Additionally, the complexity is compounded by the differing tax laws across various jurisdictions, each with its own set of rules regarding digital currencies.

Bitcoin ETFs offer a streamlined solution to this convoluted tax maze. Furthermore, classified similarly to traditional stocks for tax purposes, these investment vehicles are generally more straightforward to report during tax season. Additionally, they typically benefit from the established structure and practices of stock reporting, which can be less complex than the reporting required for direct cryptocurrency transactions.

Additionally, Bitcoin ETFs offer the potential advantage of being included in tax-advantaged accounts. Moreover, in various regions, this eligibility extends to life insurance investment products or retirement accounts. For instance, in France, Bitcoin ETFs may be included in the Plan d’Epargne Retraite (PER). Such accounts typically provide tax deferral on gains or tax-free growth, depending on the jurisdiction. This feature can significantly amplify the long-term growth potential of investments within these vehicles.

insertion of Bitcoin

Furthermore, the potential inclusion of Bitcoin ETFs in tax-advantaged accounts can lead to big savings. For instance, investors might defer taxes on gains until withdrawal. Or, they could get deductions on ETF contributions. This could make for a more efficient tax strategy. It aligns with long-term retirement planning goals.

The tax benefits of Bitcoin ETFs are vast, extending beyond deferral and deduction. For investors, the ease of tax reporting is crucial. The reduced administrative burden is significant. By using a single ETF for transactions, instead of multiple cryptocurrency trades, investors simplify gains and losses tracking. This approach can cut accounting fees. It also lowers the chance of errors in tax filings.

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We’ll explain everything you need to know about Bitcoin ETFs: from how they work, why investors are turning to them, and how they compare with other cryptocurrency investments.

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Liquidity and cost-effectiveness

Liquidity is key in investments, and Bitcoin ETFs excel here. They trade on major exchanges, much like stocks. This offers high liquidity, often lacking in direct Bitcoin investments. Such liquidity allows quick position changes in response to the market. This is crucial given the crypto markets’ frequent volatility.

Moreover, the costs of Bitcoin ETFs can be more predictable and potentially lower. This is in comparison to the costs of buying, holding, and selling Bitcoin directly. Direct investment in Bitcoin often incurs variable fees. These include transaction fees on exchanges, wallet fees, and high withdrawal fees. The costs can vary widely depending on the exchange or wallet service. They can also accumulate significantly over time or with frequent transactions.

In contrast, Bitcoin ETFs usually have clear fees. These are often in the annual expense ratio, disclosed upfront. While trading ETFs incurs brokerage fees, they are generally known. They’re standardized across the industry. Additionally, fees are competitive. This is due to stock exchanges being large and regulated.

For all those reasons, the SEC approved the listing of 11 Bitcoin ETF in January 2024 was pivotal. These products experienced a massive inflow of assets. Blackrock and Fidelity collected over $3 billion in assets under management in under a month. Thus, making these the two most successful ETF launches in history.

Bitcoin ETF by Bloomberg source

To put this into perspective, there has been thousands of ETF launches in history, on much more traditionally accepted assets. This showcases the strong interest, and therefore demand, that surged from professional Wall Street investors because of the availability of Bitcoin in an ETF wrapper.

When Buying Bitcoin Directly Might Be the Better Option

The allure of Bitcoin for many is rooted in its foundational principle: a decentralized financial system where each individual has full sovereignty over their assets. Direct ownership of Bitcoin embodies this principle. Investors with direct ownership have the private keys to their Bitcoin, granting them complete autonomy over their digital wealth. This control enables them to manage their cryptocurrency as they see fit, from transferring it to different wallets to using it for transactions, or even as a tool for wealth preservation under adverse economic conditions.

Historical precedents underscore the significance of such control. For instance, during the Cypriot financial crisis in 2013, when capital controls were imposed and access to bank accounts was restricted, Bitcoin emerged as a means to maintain and transfer wealth without government intervention. This event illustrated the value of having a non-sovereign, decentralized asset during times when traditional financial systems are under stress.

Similarly, in countries experiencing hyperinflation, such as Zimbabwe or Venezuela, Bitcoin has provided a way for citizens to preserve their purchasing power when their national currencies have failed. In these cases, direct ownership of Bitcoin allowed individuals to circumvent the crumbling financial infrastructure and safeguard their assets.

Traditional Banks

The importance of direct ownership shines in inheritance matters. With Bitcoin, ensuring proper setup and key transfer is vital. Individuals can directly bequeath digital assets to heirs. This eliminates the need for intermediaries. It also avoids the risk of assets being frozen or seized during probate.

Direct ownership is not just about control; it’s also about empowerment. It embodies Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision. Nakamoto is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. He envisioned a system without financial intermediaries. In this system, each person has complete access to and control over their money. 

Reserve bank of Zimbabwe

For purists and visionaries, direct cryptocurrency ownership is more than a choice. It’s a statement. It represents a commitment to ideals of financial freedom, privacy, and self-governance. This empowerment and belief in decentralization draws followers towards Bitcoin. They continue to support direct ownership passionately.

To support financial sovereignty, we invite our readers to explore Paymium. It is a regulated Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) we partner with and recommend. Paymium maintains the highest security and regulatory compliance. This ensures you can manage your Bitcoin investments confidently and reliably.

Choosing between a Bitcoin ETF and direct Bitcoin purchase depends on several factors. These include individual investment objectives, risk tolerance, and desire for asset control. Direct Bitcoin investment offers unmatched autonomy. It provides a direct relationship with the cryptocurrency market. Plus, it brings the excitement of engaging with cutting-edge financial technology. It appeals to those ready to tackle the crypto space’s complexities. This is for the potential of higher returns. It also allows for deeper involvement in the blockchain ecosystem.

See How Melanion Capital Can Guide You to Your Financial Wealth

We’ll explain everything you need to know about Bitcoin ETFs: from how they work, why investors are turning to them, and how they compare with other cryptocurrency investments.

Book a Free Consultation Call

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