Blockchain exchange-traded funds (ETFs) own stocks in companies that have business operations in blockchain technology or in some way profit from it. Blockchain is made up of complex blocks of digital information, and increasingly is used in banking, investing, cryptocurrency and other sectors. While blockchain is a relatively new technology, many of the companies that operate in the space are well established. Some examples include International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), and German-based SAP SE (SAP). Many investors may be wary of risking an investment in blockchain due to the technology's association with the volatile cryptocurrency market. However, blockchain is not the same thing as cryptocurrency, and blockchain ETFs invest only in stocks of regulated companies, many of which are big blue-chip technology firms.

The blockchain ETF universe is comprised of about 5 distinct ETFs, excluding inverse and leveraged ETFs. The best-performing blockchain ETF for Q1 2020, based on performance over the past year, is the Innovation Shares NextGen Protocol ETF (KOIN). We examine the top 3 best blockchain ETFs below. All numbers in this story are as of February 11, 2020.

Innovation Shares NextGen Protocol ETF (KOIN)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 29.8%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.95%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 1.55%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 2,846
  • Assets Under Management: $9.1 million
  • Inception Date: January 30, 2018
  • Issuing Company: Innovation Shares LLC

KOIN is a large-cap ETF that invests in technology stocks across developed markets throughout the world. The fund follows a blended strategy, investing in both growth and value stocks. The ETF's top three holdings include Intel Corp. (INTC), a semiconductor manufacturing company; Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), a multinational technology company; and Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM), a cloud-based software company. 

Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (BLCN)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 28.0%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.68%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 1.39%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 10,694
  • Assets Under Management: $66.7 million
  • Inception Date: January 17, 2018
  • Issuing Company: Reality Shares

BLCN is a large-cap ETF focused on technology stocks across developed markets throughout the world. The fund follows a blended strategy, investing in a mix of growth and value stocks. The ETF's top three holdings include Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), a semiconductor company; Fujitsu Ltd. (6702), a Japan-based multinational IT equipment and services company; and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

First Trust Indxx Innovative Transaction & Process ETF (LEGR)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 22.7%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.65%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 1.97%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 2,087
  • Assets Under Management: $46.4 million
  • Inception Date: January 24, 2018
  • Issuing Company: First Trust

LEGR is a large-cap ETF that invests in technology stocks across developed markets throughout the world. The fund follows a blended strategy, investing in both growth and value stocks. The ETF's top three holdings include Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD); Fujitsu Ltd. (6702); and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), a semiconductor company.