Bitcoin ETFs and the Criticism from The New York Times

January 20, 2024 | by


In a recent article published by The New York Times, bitcoin ETFs were sharply criticized, with the suggestion that their soaring popularity is merely a result of fear of missing out (FOMO). Yet, despite this critique, investors have poured an impressive $1.9 billion into bitcoin ETFs within just three days of their trading debut, clearly indicating a significant demand. The article argues that bitcoin holds a philosophical value as a global, stateless monetary network and has proven to be a successful investment. The piece dismisses the notion that investing in bitcoin is solely driven by FOMO and stresses the importance of actually owning the asset. Moreover, the author deems the New York Times article dismissive of bitcoin and accuses it of failing to acknowledge the potential revolutionary impact that this cryptocurrency could have.


This article provides a comprehensive overview of Bitcoin ETFs and explores their popularity, criticism, and philosophical value. It also delves into the differences between Bitcoin ETFs and owning Bitcoin directly, as well as addressing the FOMO argument often associated with ETFs. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of owning Bitcoin and critiques The New York Times’ perspective on the asset. Finally, it discusses Bitcoin’s global and stateless nature, as well as its successful investment record.

Bitcoin ETFs: Overview

Definition of ETFs

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are investment funds that are traded on stock exchanges, similar to individual stocks. They allow investors to gain exposure to a diverse range of assets, such as stocks, bonds, and commodities, without needing to directly own the underlying assets. ETFs are known for their liquidity, transparency, and usually lower expense ratios compared to mutual funds.

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Introduction of Bitcoin ETFs

Bitcoin ETFs are a specific type of ETF that provide investors with exposure to Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency. These funds enable investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin’s price movements without having to directly own or store the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin ETFs have gained significant attention due to the increasing adoption and mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies.

Popularity and demand of Bitcoin ETFs

Bitcoin ETFs have experienced immense popularity right from their inception. In the first three days of trading, investors rushed to allocate at least $1.9 billion into these ETFs, indicating a substantial demand for these investment vehicles. This overwhelming response highlights the growing interest and trust in Bitcoin as a viable investment option in the eyes of investors.

Criticism from The New York Times

Article’s perspective on Bitcoin ETFs

The New York Times published an article where it criticized Bitcoin ETFs, suggesting that their popularity is primarily driven by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). While acknowledging the significant demand for Bitcoin ETFs, The New York Times argues that this demand is largely rooted in the fear of missing out on potential gains rather than a rational assessment of the asset’s value.

FOMO as a driving factor for ETF popularity

The article suggests that the current investing landscape is heavily influenced by FOMO, with investors eager to jump on the bandwagon of any popular investment opportunity. Bitcoin ETFs have been no exception to this trend, with the fear of missing out on potential profits leading to a surge in demand for these funds.

Article’s dismissal of FOMO driving Bitcoin investment

Contrary to the perspective presented by The New York Times, it is essential to acknowledge that FOMO is just one of the factors driving the popularity of Bitcoin ETFs. While FOMO may contribute to initial interest, investors are also drawn to Bitcoin’s potential as a global, stateless monetary network and its successful investment track record. The dismissal of FOMO as the sole factor behind Bitcoin investment overlooks the nuanced reasons for its widespread adoption.

Importance of actually owning Bitcoin

The article emphasizes the importance of actually owning Bitcoin instead of opting for ETFs. It argues that only by directly owning the digital currency can investors truly reap the benefits and fully participate in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Ownership provides control over assets and eliminates dependencies on intermediaries.

Author’s critique of The New York Times article

The author critiques The New York Times article for its dismissive tone towards Bitcoin and its failure to acknowledge the potential value and advantages it offers. The article falls short in recognizing the broader implications of Bitcoin and its ability to revolutionize the financial landscape. It neglects to fully consider the reasons behind investors’ interest in Bitcoin ETFs, offering a limited perspective on the subject.

Bitcoin’s Philosophical Value

Global and stateless monetary network

Bitcoin’s philosophical value lies in its nature as a global and stateless monetary network. Unlike traditional fiat currencies, Bitcoin operates without reliance on any central authority or government. It transcends borders, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking financial autonomy and resistance to political and economic uncertainties.

Successful investment record

Bitcoin has a well-documented track record of investment success. Despite its volatility, the digital currency has witnessed significant price growth over the years. This success has attracted investors looking for opportunities to diversify their portfolios and capitalize on the potential future growth of Bitcoin. These investment gains provide further evidence of Bitcoin’s value beyond FOMO-driven speculation.

Bitcoin ETFs vs. Owning Bitcoin

Understanding the difference

It is important to distinguish between Bitcoin ETFs and owning Bitcoin directly. When investors purchase shares of a Bitcoin ETF, they are essentially investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin on their behalf. They do not possess the actual digital assets but rather claim ownership indirectly through the ETF. Conversely, owning Bitcoin allows investors to hold the cryptocurrency in their personal wallets, providing them with greater control and direct exposure to the underlying asset.

Risks and advantages of Bitcoin ETFs

Bitcoin ETFs offer certain advantages such as liquidity, ease of access, and diversification. Investors can gain exposure to Bitcoin without needing to navigate the complexities of purchasing, storing, and securing the digital currency themselves. However, investing in Bitcoin ETFs also exposes investors to counterparty risk, as they are dependent on the ETF provider’s ability to manage and hold the underlying Bitcoin securely.

Benefits and drawbacks of owning Bitcoin

Owning Bitcoin directly grants individuals control over their assets and eliminates the reliance on third-party intermediaries. It allows investors to fully participate in the growing decentralized finance ecosystem, engage in peer-to-peer transactions, and take advantage of potential price appreciation. However, owning Bitcoin also carries the responsibility of managing private keys, securing wallets, and navigating regulatory and compliance considerations.

Addressing the FOMO Argument

Explaining FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO is a psychological phenomenon where individuals experience anxiety or concern about missing out on opportunities, particularly in the realm of investments. It often arises from the fear of not capitalizing on potential gains or being left behind in a rapidly evolving market. FOMO can influence investor behavior, leading to impulsive decisions and irrational exuberance.


Analyzing FOMO impact on Bitcoin ETF demand

While FOMO may contribute to the initial surge in demand for Bitcoin ETFs, it is crucial to recognize that investors’ interest in Bitcoin and its ETFs extends beyond speculative motivations. Bitcoin’s disruptive potential, its ability to serve as a hedge against traditional financial systems, and its appeal as a store of value have attracted long-term investors who recognize its inherent qualities.

Alternative reasons for Bitcoin’s popularity

The popularity of Bitcoin stems from a combination of factors beyond FOMO. Investors have become increasingly aware of the limitations of traditional financial systems and are looking for alternative options to preserve their wealth and access decentralized financial services. Bitcoin’s finite supply, scarcity, and potential to operate independently of central authorities make it an attractive option for those seeking to diversify their investments and protect against inflation.

The Importance of Owning Bitcoin

Control over assets

Owning Bitcoin grants individuals full control over their assets. Unlike Bitcoin ETFs, which involve the delegation of ownership to third-party custodians, personal ownership of Bitcoin allows investors to manage their holdings directly. This control ensures that individuals have the ability to make decisions regarding their assets without relying on intermediaries or central authorities.

Eliminating third-party risk

By owning Bitcoin directly, investors eliminate the counterparty risk associated with Bitcoin ETFs. They are not reliant on the ETF provider’s security measures and protocols to safeguard their investment. Instead, ownership enables investors to secure their Bitcoin through personal wallets, choosing their own security measures and reducing the vulnerability to potential breaches or hacks.

Security of personal wallets

Personal ownership of Bitcoin necessitates the use of personal wallets for storing the digital currency securely. The security of personal wallets can be enhanced through various measures such as hardware wallets, multi-factor authentication, and offline storage. By assuming responsibility for the security of their wallets, individuals can mitigate the risk of online vulnerabilities and unauthorized access to their Bitcoin holdings.

The New York Times’ Perspective

Critique of The New York Times’ dismissive tone

The New York Times article exhibits a dismissive tone towards Bitcoin and its potential as an investment option. This dismissiveness fails to acknowledge the significant interest and demand for Bitcoin ETFs and overlooks the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies by individuals, businesses, and institutions worldwide. Such a dismissive stance can hinder readers’ understanding of the complexities surrounding Bitcoin and its investment merits.

Failure to acknowledge Bitcoin’s potential

The article’s failure to acknowledge the potential of Bitcoin as a transformative force within the financial industry is a significant oversight. Bitcoin has the potential to provide greater financial inclusion, empower individuals in economically challenged regions, and revolutionize cross-border transactions. Ignoring these possibilities limits the broader conversation around the future of finance and fails to consider the impact that Bitcoin and its underlying technology, blockchain, may have in reshaping the global economy.

Possible biases in reporting

It is important to consider the existence of possible biases when analyzing reporting on Bitcoin. Traditional financial institutions and centralized authorities may perceive Bitcoin as a threat to their established systems. Therefore, skepticism and dismissiveness towards Bitcoin, as displayed in The New York Times article, may stem from the potential disruption it poses to traditional financial structures. A more comprehensive and unbiased analysis is necessary to present a fair and accurate representation of Bitcoin’s potential implications.

Bitcoin’s Global and Stateless Nature

Bitcoin as a borderless currency

Bitcoin’s global nature allows it to operate beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of any one country. This borderless feature enables individuals to transact with one another seamlessly, irrespective of their geographic location or the traditional constraints of legacy financial systems. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the borderless nature of Bitcoin becomes increasingly appealing, promoting financial inclusion and greater access to capital for those traditionally underserved by traditional banking systems.

Liberation from traditional financial systems

Bitcoin’s stateless nature liberates individuals from the constraints of centralized financial systems. Citizens in countries with hyperinflation or capital controls can harness the power and potential of Bitcoin as an alternative store of value and medium of exchange. By bypassing traditional financial intermediaries, Bitcoin provides individuals with greater financial autonomy, enabling them to secure their wealth and access financial services without interference or restrictions.

Bitcoin’s Investment Success

Historical Bitcoin price growth

Bitcoin has experienced substantial price growth over the years, attracting the attention of investors seeking high returns. While volatility remains an inherent characteristic of the cryptocurrency, its upward trajectory has created wealth for early adopters and those who believed in the potential of the digital currency. This investment success has contributed to Bitcoin’s reputation as a lucrative investment opportunity.

Comparison to traditional investment vehicles

When comparing Bitcoin to traditional investment vehicles, such as stocks and bonds, it is clear that the digital currency has offered unparalleled returns. Despite periodic price fluctuations, Bitcoin has consistently outperformed many traditional assets on a long-term basis. This outperformance underlines Bitcoin’s potential to serve as a valuable addition to investment portfolios, offering diversification and the potential for capital appreciation.

In conclusion, Bitcoin ETFs have gained popularity and demand due to several factors, including the fear of missing out (FOMO). However, beyond FOMO-driven speculation, Bitcoin carries significant philosophical value as a global, stateless monetary network. The success of Bitcoin as an investment also cannot be ignored, as it has demonstrated remarkable price growth. While Bitcoin ETFs provide certain advantages, the importance of actually owning Bitcoin cannot be overstated. Owning Bitcoin offers control over assets, eliminates third-party risk, and ensures security through personal wallets. Criticism from The New York Times highlights the need for a fair assessment of Bitcoin’s potential and acknowledges possible biases in reporting. Bitcoin’s borderless nature and its successful investment track record further solidify its role as a disruptive force in the financial industry. As Bitcoin continues to evolve, it is critical to consider its merits beyond FOMO and recognize the transformative impact it can have on the global economy.


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