Demystifying Spot Bitcoin ETFs

Crypto Witch Club
6 min readJan 16, 2024

Are we witnessing the birth of a new era in finance, or did someone spike the crypto punch?

Grab your digital wallets witches — we’re diving deep this week to demystify spot Bitcoin ETFs and all the drama surrounding the launch this last week. What can we say? We love our tea hot. (We’re looking at you and your twitter account, SEC.) The spot Bitcoin ETF approval was basically the financial version of a reality show finale, minus the champagne throwing (unfortunately). Picture this: the SEC’s Twitter got hacked (sure, Jan) and regulatory big shots became the unexpected stars. By the end of the week — spot Bitcoin ETFs made their (official) debut, and the crypto community collectively lost its chill. We demystify the drama below and also took some time to speak with Inc. Magazine on what the ETF approval means for you.

🔮 Spot Bitcoin ETFs: Unveiling the Complexity

Alright, witches, let’s get real about this spot Bitcoin ETF business because it’s about as straightforward as deciphering a cryptic text from your ex. So, here’s the deal — when we’re chatting about spot Bitcoin ETFs, we’re not talking about cozying up with a physical Bitcoin and giving it a cute nickname. Nope, it’s more like entering the financial Narnia through the backdoor.

Contrary to what your Uncle Larry might think, a spot Bitcoin ETF won’t make you the proud owner of a shiny Bitcoin. It’s not handing out golden tickets to Willy Wonka’s crypto factory. Instead, it’s like the backstage pass to a Bitcoin concert, minus the mosh pit. You’re not holding the crypto; you’re basically surfing on the waves of derivatives and futures contracts, catching the highs and lows of Bitcoin’s rollercoaster without the commitment of storing it in your digital wallet.

So, to break it down for the non-finance wizards out there: spot Bitcoin ETFs are like having your cake and eating it too — without gaining those extra financial calories. It’s financial exposure without the messy custody drama. You get to ride the Bitcoin wave, and feel the thrill without the responsibility of babysitting the actual crypto. It’s like being the cool aunt at the family gathering — all the fun, none of the diapers.

💡 Spot Bitcoin ETFs: For Bitcoin OG crowd

A reminder for our witches, for Bitcoin OGs, Bitcoin and crypto were always a sort of cyberpunk movement. You can’t create a decentralized economy without rebellion, right? So these spot Bitcoin ETFs don’t necessarily mean the traditional crypto investor is going to stop holding their own digital assets and put all their eggs in TradFi. That being said, spot Bitcoin ETFs bring undeniable benefits for the crypto curious, and the web3 community knows that. These ETFs will open up the door for traditional investors to (easily) get involved. So it’s no longer just about rebellion; it’s also about giving crypto some much-needed credibility with the everyday investor.

On a positive note, the ability for newcomers to invest in spot Bitcoin ETFs removes the learning curve — no need to open an account with a CeFi crypto exchange, no pressure to learn how to transfer to a software or hardware wallet, and no worries about hacks or phishing scams. Spot Bitcoin ETFs are also subject to regulatory oversight. So for first-time crypto investors, it’s a great way to test the waters. On another note, if you’re interested in Bitcoin or cryptocurrency because it’s decentralized and allows for self-custody of your funds, a spot Bitcoin ETF might not be your soulmate. The culture of web3 is embedded deeply within these crypto communities and DAOs, so you’ll miss out on that aspect by investing in a spot Bitcoin ETF over actual Bitcoin. “Not your keys, not your crypto” is gonna be the catchphrase making the rounds post-ETF approval. There’s space for everyone at this shindig, but brace yourselves for some major culture shock from the crypto community.

🔗 Navigating the Derivative Realm

Imagine spot Bitcoin ETFs as the elixir of financial empowerment, where you get to ride the waves of Bitcoin’s market movements without the stress of getting started. It’s not just a potion; it’s a financial passport to the stars, granting you access to the glittering universe of crypto gains while also having the peace of mind that your investments are regulated and have oversight. (If that’s your thing.) You’re not merely gaining exposure; you’re unleashing the power of derivatives and futures contracts to work in your favor. It’s like having a team of financial superheroes doing the heavy lifting while you bask in the glory of your crypto conquests. But, will you even have access to these ETFs under your current institution? Read on.

🔄 A Recap on the January 11th, 2024 Launch

Our first spot Bitcoin ETF besties that were approved and began trading on January 11th, 2024 are:

  • Ark Invest
  • Bitwise
  • Blackrock
  • Fidelity
  • Franklin Templeton
  • Grayscale
  • Hashdex
  • Invesco
  • Valkyrie
  • VanEck
  • WisdomTree

Not everyone was along for the ride though. Citi, Edward Jones, Merrill Lynch, UBS, and Vanguard have blocked their customers from accessing any Bitcoin ETFs. (Jealous, much?) According to Vanguard, Bitcoin ETFs “don’t fit with Vanguard’s investment philosophy”.

It’s not like there weren’t other bumps along the way. Prior to launch, the SEC’s twitter account had some, errr, issues. The SEC’s twitter account was hacked — announcing ETF approval — way before they were actually given the green light. (It’s like the intern in charge of double-checking was too busy crying in the corner to notice. Feel that bb). Post-ETF approval, we also saw a cute flash crash on Bitcoin. (Is -10% in crypto even considered a flash crash? Seems like an average day in the crypto verse tbh). Regardless, we saw cumulative inflows of a cool $7.1 billion by the second day of trading. A win in our spellbook.

🔐 Navigating the Crypto Matrix

To wrap it up, dear Crypto Witches, understand that spot Bitcoin ETFs involve mastering the art of derivative markets, waving goodbye to the notion of direct Bitcoin ownership, and recognizing the impact on both traditional investors and our native crypto community. Let us know — are you team TradFi (spot Bitcoin ETF) or team Web3 (all in on Bitcoin ownership)? Join our chat to keep the convo going.

All in all, think of the spot Bitcoin ETFs as opening a portal between the realms, where traditional investors get a taste of the crypto magic without fully committing, and our native crypto community gains recognition and legitimacy on a broader stage. It’s a harmonious convergence of financial worlds, in our humble opinion, a symbiotic dance where each step forward bridges the gap between the old and the new. So, master the art, embrace the nuances of the derivative dance, and recognize the transformative impact on both the traditional and the crypto spheres.

Disclaimer, witches: We drop financial fun, but remember, we’re not your investment gurus. We’re just here to sprinkle some savvy suggestions on your avocado toast. Always consult a real money expert before making any major moves, because, let’s be real, we’re just here to help get your financial knowledge as sharp as your winged eyeliner.


We know money has magical powers. Crypto Witches harness our power through self custody, collective ownership, and financial independence. Join the club to connect with others also demystifying their financial future.



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