Crypto Bulls Lose $217M Amid Concern About Grayscale Outflows

Bloomberg's Eric Balchunas pointed out that GBTC shares flipped to a 0.9% discount versus net asset value amid "likely due to selling pressure."

AccessTimeIconJan 19, 2024 at 6:57 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 8:13 p.m. UTC

Futures traders betting on higher crypto prices saw some $217 million in liquidations in the past 24 hours as the approval of spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds continues to be a “sell-the-news” event, a contrarian bet that shows no signs of slowing.

Concern that crypto fund manager Grayscale is selling some of its bitcoin as owners of its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) remove money from the ETF contributed to a drop in prices. Verified wallets belonging to Grayscale, tracked and labeled by analysis firm Arkham, show that the fund moved over $400 million worth of bitcoin to custodian Coinbase Prime on Thursday – potentially a step toward an eventual sale.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas also pointed out that GBTC shares flipped to a 0.9% discount versus their net asset value on Thursday “likely due to selling pressure.”

Even as GBTC sees net outflows, other newly approved bitcoin ETFs are seeing net inflows. BlackRock’s IBIT crossed $1 billion in assets under management (AUM) on Wednesday.

Bitcoin fell below $42,000 late Thursday, down 3.7% since Thursday and 15% from the December run to $49,000. It led to a market-wide retreat, with ether (ETH) falling 2.5%, Solana’s SOL falling 6.5%, and Cardano’s ADA down 5%.

BNB Chain’s BNB outperformed the market and was up 0.6%, buoyed by launchpads on the closely related Binance exchange, where users can stake BNB to gain an allocation of new projects listed on the platform.

The price drop caused highly leveraged futures betting on higher prices to see $217 million in losses, with bitcoin trades taking on $88 million in liquidations alone.


Liquidation occurs when an exchange forcefully closes a trader’s leveraged position due to a partial or total loss of the trader’s initial margin. It happens when a trader cannot meet the margin requirements for a leveraged position (fails to have sufficient funds to keep the trade open).

Meanwhile, some traders said in a Friday note that they expect broader crypto markets to be range-bound in the short term.

“BTC is hovering above the $40,000–$42,000 zone, which is likely to act as short-term support,” said Rachel Lin, CEO and co-founder of Singapore-based SynFutures, in an email. “Overall, the past week can be summed up as the calm after the storm. The ETF mania phase is over, and the market is moving sideways, looking for the next trigger.”

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.