Bitcoin ETFs approved in the US, but will the UK follow?
Estimated reading time: 2 min
Due to the potential for losses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considers this investment to be high risk.
What are the key risks?
1. You could lose all the money you invest
- The performance of most cryptoassets can be highly volatile, with their value dropping as quickly as it can rise. You should be prepared to lose all the money you invest in cryptoassets.
- The cryptoasset market is largely unregulated. There is a risk of losing money or any cryptoassets you purchase due to risks such as cyber-attacks, financial crime and firm failure.
2. You should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong
- The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) doesn't protect this type of investment because it's not a 'specified investment' under the UK regulatory regime – in other words, this type of investment isn't recognised as the sort of investment that the FSCS can protect. Learn more by using the FSCS investment protection checker.
- The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will not be able to consider complaints related to this firm or Protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does not cover poor investment performance. If you have a complaint against an FCA regulated firm, FOS may be able to consider it. Learn more about FOS protection here.
3. You may not be able to sell your investment when you want to
- There is no guarantee that investments in cryptoassets can be easily sold at any given time. The ability to sell a cryptoasset depends on various factors, including the supply and demand in the market at that time.
- Operational failings such as technology outages, cyber-attacks and comingling of funds could cause unwanted delay and you may be unable to sell your cryptoassets at the time you want.
4. Cryptoasset investments can be complex
- Investments in cryptoassets can be complex, making it difficult to understand the risks associated with the investment.
- You should do your own research before investing. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Don't put all your eggs in one basket
- Putting all your money into a single type of investment is risky. Spreading your money across different investments makes you less dependent on any one to do well.
- A good rule of thumb is not to invest more than 10% of your money in high-risk investments.
If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself, visit the FCA's website here.
For further information about cryptoassets, visit the FCA's website here.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the sale of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the US.
Crypto enthusiasts across the world have welcomed the news that after years of rebuffs, the US regulatory body, the SEC, has given the green light for spot Bitcoin ETFs to be sold.
However, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) seems to have no plans to follow suit – UK crypto investors will need to continue to watch from the sidelines for the moment.
What is a spot Bitcoin ETF?
An exchange traded fund (ETF) is an easy way to invest in an asset or a group of assets, without having to directly buy the asset itself. The value depends on how the overall portfolio performs in real time.
Some ETFs may already indirectly contain Bitcoin. But a spot Bitcoin ETF will buy the cryptocurrency directly, at its current price, and allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without actually owning the cryptocurrency.
Can UK investors buy Bitcoin ETFs?
The FCA has banned access to crypto ETFs for UK retail investors, so UK investors aren’t able to buy them currently.
The UK regulator is taking a cautious approach to cryptocurrency. New rules which came into force in October 2023 categorised Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as “restricted mass market investments”.
It’s therefore unlikely we will see the UK follow the US’s lead and make Bitcoin EFTs available.
The regulator has repeatedly flagged concerns about the extreme volatility of crypto and the difficulties retail investors face in valuing them. With its latest regulations, it’s clear this opinion remains unchanged.
What does this mean for the price of Bitcoin?
After several years of turmoil, Bitcoin’s price saw an uplift on the back of the SEC’s announcement, peaking at $49,000 (around £38,400).
The approval of Bitcoin ETFs will give investors more options globally, potentially driving up demand for the cryptocurrency. Some analysts have even said it could stabilise the price as it broadens the cryptocurrency’s use and potential audience.
However, as the price of Bitcoin rises, some investors could decide to cash out, affecting the price.
Bitcoin is famous for its price volatility and there seems to be no change to that at present.
Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks - they're highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and sensitive to secondary activity. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation to invest. Before you invest, you should get advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.