IMHO, the reason this ETF was started was because the government realized that if people started buying physical silver around the world, there would quickly be a silver shortage and panic. I believe that they created this fiat paper way of buying Silver instead of buying the metal itself to avoid worldwide panic. I mentioned to my broker that I am buying physical silver and he said why do this? You should buy the ETF instead. All of the financial advisors steer people away from buying the metal because there is no money in it for them. If it wasn't for the existence of SLV, the price of silver would already be much higher than it is today. Should the fiat paper hedge funds decide to buy Silver in large numbers then there will be a Silver price explosion. I think we are years away from this but who knows for sure?