ETFs, on the other hand, are a pure asset-gathering game, and it often comes down to the selection of a cool ticker, a clever fund name, the timing of a launch or sheer advertising muscle in order to induce trading activity in the ETF. It is a bit like hanging up flypaper. There is a paradox of sorts in that ETF managers are mostly indifferent as to whether their investors make or lose money, but of course they have mostly been pretty successful in delivering good returns — assuming their investors do actually buy and hold.
Still, the ETF industry remains a Wild West in a way that the stodgy mutual fund industry never was at a similar phase in its development. Mutual funds aren’t tripping over themselves to hold Bitcoin despite the potential rewards. Mutual fund folks are some of the most boring people I have ever met, but in a nice way, of course. The ETF business gets many more colorful personalities, as in Kevin O’Leary, who is one of the stars of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”