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Bitcoin ETFs Have Arrived. Here's Who Stands to Get Rich

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Representation of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

ETF issuers will take a management fee, as a percentage of the sum people invest. One layer deeper, though, another subset of companies—intermediaries that provide the plumbing necessary for a spot bitcoin ETF to function—stand to earn big.

Credit: Getty Images

U.S. regulators have approved a new breed of financial product that will give people a way to invest in bitcoin through their brokerage for the first time, as if it were a regular stock.

A selection of financial institutions, including household names like BlackRock and Fidelity, have been given permission by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), whose value tracks the price of bitcoin. The approval comes after a peculiar incident on January 9, in which a hijacker used the agency's X account to announce the ETFs prematurely, leading to market chaos and forcing the SEC to publish a retraction.

The arrival of the spot bitcoin ETFs has been celebrated among investors as a source of new demand for the asset—now available in a more accessible format—that could push up the price. Yet a significant portion of the financial upside will be captured behind the scenes, not in the open market.

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