In 2017, legendary investor Jack Bogle famously warned people to “avoid Bitcoin like the plague.” More than six years later, Vanguard Group Inc. is still stoking the crypto world’s ire by sticking to the conservative investing approach of its late founder.

Amid the euphoria unleashed by the long-awaited debut of the first fully fledged Bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the US, Vanguard sparked uproar last week with its pointed decision to refuse to offer the new ETFs on its gigantic trading platform.

#BoycottVanguard started trending on X, accumulating thousands of posts, with users pledging to pull their money from the asset management giant.

Vanguard’s response? To double down. The firm, which controls $8.6 trillion, has not only snubbed Bitcoin-spot products, it’s yanked futures-backed Bitcoin funds from its platform, too. That means it now offers no crypto products whatsoever, unlike its peers.

The saga speaks to Vanguard’s deeply entrenched investing philosophy, one that hearkens back to Bogle himself. The Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based firm was founded by the money management icon in 1975 on a bedrock of investing in stocks and bonds — assets that generate cash flow, dividends and interest payments — while eschewing commodities.

Vanguard has traditionally steered clear of the latter — seen lacking intrinsic value and an internal rate of return — with Bogle dismissing commodity investing as “total speculation.” Modern-day Vanguard still follows that gospel closely nearly a half-century later, with just one commodity fund out of more than 400 offered worldwide.

“It’s not surprising whatsoever that Vanguard has taken this stance given that there’s ample precedent for it and more fundamentally, it’s in alignment with their long-held investment principles,” said Ben Johnson, head of client solutions at Morningstar Inc.

That discipline extends beyond Vanguard’s own lineup of mutual funds and ETFs and into its brokerage arm as well. While commodity ETFs are available to trade, the company pulled “very speculative and highly complex” leveraged and inverse products from its platform in 2019.

Even as billions roll into the newly-launched spot Bitcoin ETFs, Vanguard has no plans to offer any crypto-related products, a spokesperson said.

Vanguard’s rejection of crypto stands in stark contrast to its industry peers. BlackRock Inc., Fidelity and Invesco Ltd. all launched spot Bitcoin ETFs last week, while centuries-old State Street is providing fund servicing to several of the products.

Meanwhile, Franklin Templeton has gone all-in on marketing its Bitcoin fund, putting laser-eyes on its X avatar of Benjamin Franklin and advocating for investors to add Bitcoin to 60/40 portfolios.

Traditional finance’s embrace of Bitcoin ETFs has only fueled online vitriol against Vanguard.

“We don’t need gatekeepers to tell us how to invest,” reads one X post with more than 2,600 likes. “I’ll go where me and my money are treated best,” reads another with a screenshot of a Vanguard plan distribution request.

First « 1 2 » Next