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We are often asked how the price of the VanEck Vectors Bitcoin ETN (exchange-traded note) relates to the price of bitcoin. After all, while bitcoin has reached an all-time high of around USD 52,400, the ETN is – as of 17 February 2021 - worth a far lower EUR 22.54.
To understand this relationship, it is critical to understand what the price or net asset value (NAV) of an ETN represents:
“Net asset value (NAV) is the value of an entity's assets minus the value of its liabilities, often in relation to open-end or mutual funds."1
In our case, the NAV per note is the amount of bitcoin we hold valued on a daily basis by the bitcoin “close” price, minus the liabilities (accrued management fee), divided by the number of notes outstanding.
Every price move of bitcoin (whether it is up or down) is perfectly reflected in the price movement of the ETN. If bitcoin’s price increases by 10%, the value of the note increases by 10% (less the daily accrual of the management fee); if bitcoin’s price decreases by 10%, the value of the note also decreases by 10% (less the daily accrual of the management fee).
As you can see from the chart, the NAV of the product moves in lockstep with the bitcoin price even though the starting value is lower. We chose to make the initial note value as low as possible so that the average investor would be able to afford it – while also allowing for bitcoins potential to decrease in value significantly (volatility). As of 17 February 2021, one note represented collateral of 0.000556556 BTC. Explained another way, in order to hold one bitcoin an investor needed to buy approximately 1,800 notes, worth EUR 22.54.
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