Breaking
July 17, 2024

Bitcoin ETFs See Record Inflows as Investors Clamor for Exposure

AiBot
Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Jan 19, 2024

Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) attracted massive inflows this week as several Spot Bitcoin ETFs began trading in the US for the first time. The new ETFs saw combined inflows of nearly $2 billion in just their first three days of trading, demonstrating intense investor demand for crypto exposure through traditional financial products.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs Launch, Smashing Volume Records

On Monday, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) saw the long-awaited launch of Spot Bitcoin ETFs, financial products that track the price of actual bitcoin rather than bitcoin futures contracts. Three Spot Bitcoin ETFs – the ProShares Bitcoin ETF (BITO), Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BTF), and VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF (XBTF) – began trading after receiving approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week.

The new ETFs saw massive trading volumes on their first day, with the ProShares ETF alone trading over $1 billion worth of shares. Across all three ETFs, 24.9 million shares worth $1.05 billion exchanged hands, marking the second highest ever first-day natural volume for an ETF product. The intense activity highlights the considerable pent-up demand from both institutional and retail investors for simple and regulated crypto investment vehicles.

“The buzz around these Bitcoin ETPs is a buyer beware situation,” said CNBC host Jim Cramer. “There’s some major investor interest here in getting Bitcoin exposure through traditional financial products.”

Billions Flow Into Bitcoin Investment Products

The astronomical trading volumes carried through the week as total inflows into the new Spot Bitcoin ETFs neared $2 billion after just three days of trading. In addition, assets under management (AUM) at the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) also saw large inflows topping $200 million. Across all publicly-traded bitcoin funds, products saw a record $1.14 billion enter last Friday alone as investors clamored for exposure ahead of the Spot ETF launches.

The intense interest has propelled Bitcoin to become the second largest commodity tracked by ETFs after silver, demonstrating the rapidly growing legitimacy of digital assets as an investable asset class. Crypto investment products as a whole saw record weekly inflows over $1.7 billion last week. The vast majority of capital flowed into funds tracking Bitcoin, but other digital asset funds saw inflows over $50 million as well.

ETF Inflows 1/13/2024 - 1/19/2024

| Fund             | Inflows    |
| ---------------- | ---------- |  
| Spot BTC ETFs    | $1.9B      |
| GBTC             | $203M      |   
| Other BTC Funds  | $1.14B     |
| Other Crypto Funds | $53M    |

“It’s clear that investor demand for crypto exposure through traditional vehicles is astronomical. While some products like GBTC have existed for years, last week saw an unprecedented acceleration of flows into Bitcoin funds and ETFs,” said Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan. “We expect this strong demand to continue driving prices and volumes substantially higher throughout 2024.”

The launch and early trading success of Spot Bitcoin ETFs marks a major milestone for the crypto industry, demonstrating the asset class has clearly entered the mainstream consciousness. As major traditional financial players like BlackRock, Fidelity, and others continue pushing further into the crypto space, digital assets seem poised to continue seeing higher adoption and prices this year.

Mixed Reactions from Investors and Advisors

Adoption of Bitcoin ETFs has not been universal, however, as some financial advisors remain hesitant about recommending exposure to clients. Surveys show nearly half of advisors have not discussed crypto with clients at all, while others have implemented firm policies restricting its use. Concerns around volatility and client understanding of emerging digital assets have led many wealth management firms to limit advisor access to crypto investment options.

“I get why advisors might not want to open the crypto can of worms,” said certified financial planner Allan Roth. “While a small allocation may make sense for aggressive investors, there are still reasonable concerns surrounding security, regulation, and taxes that need be addressed.”

Others note that Bitcoin ETFs do not truly provide pure exposure to Bitcoin itself. Unlike owning the digital currency outright, ETF investors are simply buying shares of funds that hold Bitcoin on their behalf. As a result, they miss out on key benefits like self-custody, direct ownership of assets, and use of coins for utility purposes like payments or decentralized finance activities.

“I think for us it’s not necessarily the best way to get exposure to Bitcoin because you don’t truly own Bitcoin in the same sense,” said Tyler Winklevoss, founder of crypto exchange Gemini. “Our preference and our thesis is to own the actual coins themselves.”

Uncertain Regulatory Environment Clouds the Future

While the launch of Spot Bitcoin ETFs marks a regulatory milestone, uncertainty still swirls around what stance policymakers may take toward crypto going forward. The SEC has thus far only approved Bitcoin ETFs, denying applications for Ethereum funds several times over. In addition, SEC commissioner Hester Peirce admitted last week that Bitcoin ETF applications faced more stringent standards than traditional commodity ETFs.

The uneven regulatory playing field, as well as hostile crypto restrictions globally in countries like India, suggest crypto and Bitcoin still face an uncertain future. Arthur Hayes, former CEO of crypto exchange BitMEX, predicts increased regulatory hurdles abroad could hinder further adoption of Bitcoin ETFs and dampen prices in the short term.

“2024 will be choppy – we will get rejections of applications from foreign jurisdictions that will cause drawdowns,” said Hayes. “But structurally, nothing changes.”

Hayes remains extremely bullish on Bitcoin long term, projecting the total crypto market capitalization to surge over $13 trillion this year. However other analysts warn the intense ETF hype could soon fade, especially if elevated trading volumes prove unsustainable.

Billions in GBTC Unlocks Could Weigh on Prices

In addition to regulatory risks, several other pitfalls still exist that could potentially deflate Bitcoin prices and dampen enthusiasm later this year. Research from JPMorgan highlights lingering selling pressure threat from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which still holds over 3% of the total Bitcoin supply worth nearly $36 billion.

GBTC operated for years as the only Bitcoin fund accessible to many investors, but a structural quirk forced shareholders to wait 6 months after buying shares before redeeming their Bitcoin. Now that the redemption delays no longer apply and competitors have entered the market, investors could rush for the exits and dump over $15 billion worth of Bitcoin holdings this year, crashing prices.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Stats

| AUM              | $35.8B  |  
| ---------------- | ------- |
| BTC Holdings     | 640k    |
| % Network Supply | 3.2%    |

While the long-awaited launch of Spot Bitcoin ETFs marked a major milestone for crypto adoption, risks still loom on the horizon. Sustaining the intense trading volumes seen this past week could prove difficult, while uneven regulatory treatment and locked up GBTC shares still threaten to dampen enthusiasm if investors aren’t careful. Nonetheless, the overwhelming investor demand for crypto exposure through traditional vehicles seems likely to make 2024 another breakout year for Bitcoin.

AiBot

AiBot

Author

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Related Post