On January 17, in thread published on social media platform X, crypto analyst Joe Burnett and others weighed in on the launch of eleven SEC-approved spot Bitcoin ETFs, including a notable one from BlackRock. The conversation unfolded with a mix of humor and critique, reflecting the complex relationship between traditional finance and the burgeoning world of cryptocurrency.

Burnett kicked off the discussion with a metaphor, likening owning a spot Bitcoin ETF to having a girlfriend who resides in BlackRock’s apartment. The twist? BlackRock only sends you her photo every quarter, adding a layer of detachment to the ownership experience. This analogy humorously highlights the indirect nature of ETF ownership, where investors have a stake in Bitcoin but lack direct possession.

Expanding on this analogy, Burnett added a financial twist: BlackRock charges a fee for taking care of this metaphorical girlfriend. This comment points to the fees associated with ETFs, a common aspect of managed investment funds, but one that stands in stark contrast to the typically lower cost of direct cryptocurrency ownership.

Alex Thorn, Head of Research at Galaxy Digital, chimed in with a technical correction. He suggested that investors actually receive a “picture” (metaphorically speaking) from the previous night every morning. Thorn’s remark subtly underscores the daily reporting typical of ETFs, providing a more frequent update than Burnett’s initial quarterly depiction.

BitMEX Research contributed to the conversation with a more critical take. They described receiving a nightly picture around 3 AM, but with an ambiguity about whether the image was taken one or two days prior. Moreover, they highlighted the cost of a terminal required to receive these updates ahead of others, a nod to the expensive Bloomberg terminals often used in traditional finance. The $36,000 annual cost for such a service starkly contrasts with the open and often low-cost access associated with direct cryptocurrency dealings.

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