Imagine walking into a 3D printing store and walking out with a piece of bespoke jewelry, fully customized earphones that fit only your ears, or a life-size replica of yourself.
The applications for 3D printing are endless, not only in manufacturing but also in medicine, food, fashion, and vehicles, among others industries.
Now an exchange-traded fund is tracking the industry.
BATS ETF Marketplace has listed the first ETF in the US to focus solely on the 3D printing ecosystem.
The ETF (PRNT) is an ARK investment management product. PRNT tracks the Total 3D-Printing Index, which includes the leading companies in 3D printing and related businesses such as computer-aided design and simulation software, service centers, scanning and measurement, and materials.
"ARK expects 3D printing to revolutionize manufacturing by collapsing the time between design and production, reducing costs, and providing greater design complexity, accuracy, and customization," Catherine D. Wood, ARK's founder, CEO, and CIO, said in a statement.
The process of 3D printing uses computer-created digital models to create real-world objects — everything from simple chess pieces to more complex objects such as functioning clocks. The printers follow the shape of the model by stacking layer upon layer of material to make the objects. You can read a more detailed explanation here.
The economic implications of 3D printing are significant: McKinsey Global Institute research suggests that it could have an impact of up to $550 billion a year by 2025.
An ETF, or exchange-traded fund, is a marketable security that tracks an index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund. Unlike a mutual fund, an ETF trades like a common stock on a stock exchange.
BATS is the No. 1 US market for ETF trading. With the addition of ARK, 13 issuers with a combined 97 ETFs are listed on the BATS ETF Marketplace.
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