Bitcoin Plunges Below $41K as 'Sell the Bitcoin ETF News' Wins the Day

Large inflows in the new spot bitcoin ETFs have been sizably offset by outflows from not just from GBTC but other global bitcoin-related ETPs.

AccessTimeIconJan 18, 2024 at 9:09 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 8:12 p.m. UTC

The price of bitcoin (BTC) fell another 4.5% on Thursday, tumbling to its lowest price in a month at $40,800. The decline was roughly matched by the CoinDesk 20 Index, which tracks the world's largest and most liquid cryptocurrencies, now lower by 4.6% over the past 24 hours.

Since the newly approved spot bitcoin ETFs began trading on Jan. 11, the price of bitcoin – after a very brief spike higher – is now lower by about 13%.

Looking at data updated as of yesterday, the new spot ETF issuers have added more than 68,000 bitcoin in their first week of action. Grayscale's GBTC, however, has shed roughly 40,000 bitcoin, leaving a net addition of about 28,000 to bitcoin ETFs.

K33 Research Analyst Vetle Lunde said that long before U.S. regulatory approval, there were already plenty of spot bitcoin products trading around the world. In fact, he said, exchange-traded products (ETPs) globally currently hold more than 864,000 bitcoin, putting in some perspective the relatively minor addition – so far – of the U.S. vehicles.

Lunde went on the note that in addition to the GBTC exits, Canadian and European ETPs have seen sizable outflows over the past week as investors take profits and/or put money into the cheaper U.S. ETFs.

And then there's the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) which recently had more than $2 billion in assets under management. While this futures-based ETF held no bitcoin, it accounts for 36% of bitcoin contract open interest at the CME Group's exchange, according to Lunde. Together, futures-based bitcoin ETFs account for 48% of all bitcoin open interest at CME, he added.

As BITO and the other futures-based funds see outflows, said Lunde, they need to close (sell) their long positions in the futures market, potentially putting further pressure on bitcoin prices.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Stephen  Alpher

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's managing editor for Markets. He holds BTC above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.