Purpose investments launched the world’s first Bitcoin ETF in February 2021.

Similar to purchasing popular commodity ETFs on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in order to gain exposure to the underlying commodity e.g. Gold, the Purpose Bitcoin ETF provides exposure to actual Bitcoin.

Packaging cryptocurrency in an Exchange-Traded Fund makes it easier for retail investors to hold digital currency without having to worry about losing their private keys or getting hacked.

It also means you don’t need to open an account at a cryptocurrency exchange since the ETFs are available through your existing brokerage account.

Since the Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC) was launched, two other crypto ETFs (both bitcoin and Ethereum) have been listed on the TSX.

This BTCC review summarizes its asset allocation, fees, returns, pros, cons, how it compares to EBIT, and how to purchase it in Canada.

Purpose Investments Cryptocurrency Portfolios

Purpose Investments was established in 2012. It offers several investment products utilizing alternative strategies and assets classes.

Two of its most popular funds are:

  • Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC), and
  • Purpose Ether ETF (ETHH)

Purpose’s Bitcoin fund surpassed $1 billion in assets under management in March 2021.

Related: Best Bitcoin App.

What is BTCC?

BTCC provides investors an easy way to invest in Bitcoin by purchasing a publicly traded ETF.

The fund carries a “high” risk rating and is not suitable for all investors. This is because the price of the underlying bitcoin asset is volatile with significant intraday increases or decreases in price.

BTCC is traded on the TSX under three different tickers: BTCC, BTCC.B, and BTCC.U.

BTCC is purchased with Canadian dollars and is hedged against USD exposure.

BTCC.B is also purchased using Canadian dollars, however, it does not hedge against USD fluctuations.

BTCC.U is denominated in US dollars.

Some of the key fund facts for BTCC as of May 31, 2021, are:

  • Inception date: February 18, 2021
  • Assets under management: $852.7 million
  • Management fee:  1.00%
  • MER: Capped at 1.50%
  • Eligible accounts: Registered and non-registered accounts
  • BTC per share: 0.00017291
  • Shares per BTC: 5,783.2116

BTCC is eligible for registered accounts like the TFSA and RRSP and supports DRIP and PACC.

BTCC Holdings

BTCC is 100% invested in “physically settled” Bitcoin. This means the ETF holds no other assets outside of bitcoin (cryptocurrency).

If your investment portfolio is 100% made up of BTCC, you are 100% invested in bitcoin and your portfolio could experience significant declines if the asset falls in price (i.e. your portfolio is undiversified).

This is unlike all-in-one stock/bond portfolios like VGRO which holds more than 28,000 individual stocks and bonds.

BTCC’s bitcoin holdings are held in cold storage where they are kept safe and away from potential hacking attempts.

Related: How To Buy Bitcoin.

BTCC Returns and Fees

This ETF was launched only a few months ago and its performance results are not yet available.

Investors should be able to view its returns by February 2022.

The management fee for BTCC is 1.00% and its Management Expense Ratio (MER) has been capped at 1.50%.

Compared to some other low-fee ETFs, BTCC investors pay a hefty fee similar to equity mutual funds.

Pros and Cons of BTCC

I purchased some BTCC when it was originally launched as it was easy to purchase via my Questrade account.

Pros

  • Easy to purchase and gain exposure to bitcoin even if you are a newbie to cryptocurrency.
  • Sold on regulated brokerage platforms with access to the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) protection if the brokerage becomes insolvent.
  • Can hold in registered investment accounts and keep gains tax-free.
  • The fund holds bitcoin assets in cold storage, removing the need to purchase your own hardware wallet.
  • Good liquidity makes it easy to sell your holdings when you want to.

Cons

  • Volatile risky asset and not for risk-averse investors.
  • Bitcoin in cold storage is still not 100% secured.
  • High management fees.
  • BTCC alone is not diversified and should be held as part of a wider portfolio.

BTCC vs. Bitcoin

BTCC is a way for investors to gain access to the Canadian dollar price of bitcoin.

As of this writing, you are not able to redeem your ETF holdings for actual bitcoin. You can only buy and sell BTCC using fiat currency (CAD).

If you are paying with U.S. dollars, you can purchase BTCC.U.

BTCC vs. EBIT

Evolve’s Bitcoin ETF (EBIT.) is available on the TSX in two series:

  • EBIT: Purchased with CAD and unhedged.
  • EBIT.U: Purchased with US dollars.

Similar to BTCC, you can hold EBIT in registered (TFSA or RRSP) and non-registered investment accounts.

EBIT is 99.95% invested in physical Bitcoin and was launched on February 19, 2021.

Its assets under management as of May 31, 2021, was $76.264 million, and it has a 0.75% management fee.

BTCC vs. BTCX

CI Global Assets Management’s bitcoin ETF is called CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCX).

This fund is available in two series with the following ticker:

  • BTCX.B: Priced in Canadian dollars and unhedged.
  • BTCX.U: Priced in US dollars.

Similar to BTCC and EBIT, you can hold BTCX in registered accounts such as TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP, and non-registered accounts.

BTCX has a 0.40% management fee and its MER is capped at 0.95%.

It is 100% invested in bitcoin and as of May 31, 2021, had $221 million in assets under management.

How To Buy BTCC in Canada

You can easily purchase BTCC using a regulated brokerage platform like Wealthsimple Trade or Questrade.

Wealthsimple Trade: This platform allows users to buy and sell stocks and ETFs listed on Canadian exchanges without paying commissions.

When you open a new account and trade at least $100 worth of assets, you get a $25 bonus. Learn more in this Wealthsimple Trade review.

Questrade: This independent brokerage platform allows investors to trade a variety of investment products including stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, FX, GICs, and mutual funds.

When you open an account and deposit at least $1,000, you get $50 in free credits. Read my detailed Questrade review for more insights.

How about purchasing ‘physical’ bitcoin in Canada?

If you prefer to hold bitcoin directly (i.e. not as an ETF), the following cryptocurrency exchanges offer direct crypto trading:

Bitcoin ETF FAQs

Where can I buy BTCC ETF?

The BTCC ETF is available for trading on all major online brokerage platforms in Canada including Questrade, Wealthsimple Trade, TD Direct Investing, RBC Direct Investing, Qtrade, and more.

Can you trade crypto on Questrade?

Questrade does not offer direct cryptocurrency trading. However, you can purchase a variety of crypto ETFs on the platform including BTCC, BTCX, and even Ether ETFs like EBIT.

Should I buy Bitcoin ETFs?

Bitcoin ETFs are just as volatile as the underlying cryptocurrency asset. If you prefer to take limited risks with your investment portfolio, a Bitcoin ETF is not suitable for you.

Do you have cryptocurrency ETFs in your portfolio? Let us know what your experience has been so far in the comments.

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