First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Slips Over 15% Since ETF Approval

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Jan. 19, 2024.

AccessTimeIconJan 19, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 5:51 a.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter, putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Bitcoin (BTC) has dropped over 15% to around $41,300 since the first U.S. spot BTC ETFs listed last week, with $1.5 billion flowing out of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), according to JPMorgan. “It looks like GBTC investors who over the past year had been buying the GBTC fund at a significant discount to NAV to position for its eventual ETF conversion, have been taking full profit post-ETF conversion by exiting the bitcoin space entirely rather than shifting to cheaper spot bitcoin ETFs,” analysts wrote. JPMorgan previously estimated that up to $3 billion had been invested in GBTC in the secondary market during 2023 to exploit the trust’s discount to NAV. If this estimate is correct, there could be an additional $1.5 billion to exit the space via profit-taking on GBTC, which will put further pressure on bitcoin prices in the coming weeks.

Ether (ETH) could be poised to soar in 2024 on the back of hopes of a spot ETH ETF listing, analysts at Coinbase (COIN) have said. ETH reached its highest price since May 2022 following the approval of bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. last week. Several of the firms behind BTC ETFs, such as BlackRock and VanEck, are plotting similar products for ETH, Coinbase said in a weekly newsletter. Aside from ETF hopes, Ethereum's upcoming Dencun upgrade, which aims to improve the mainnet's scalability, could galvanize investor interest in ETH. Institutional crypto firm ETC Group said in its annual report that ether has a bullish outlook given Ethereum's ongoing status as the most dominant blockchain for DeFi and the extra returns users can accrue through staking their coins.

ARK Invest sold a further $15 million worth of shares in the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) on Wednesday, adding to the $15.8 million worth it sold the day before. ARK essentially swapped the BITO shares for $15 million worth of its own spot bitcoin ETF (ARKB). ProShare's bitcoin product was the first ETF tied to the BTC futures market to list in the U.S. back in October 2021. ARK sold off its shares in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust late last year in favor of BITO, anticipating the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. Now the approval has happened, ARK is pivoting toward its own product.

Chart of The Day

  • The chart shows bitcoin's monthly net position change or the 30-day change in supply held by long-term holders. Glassnode defines long-term holders as wallets with a history of holding coins for 155 days or more.
  • The metric flipped negative early this month, indicating net selling by long-term holders, and fell to -33,951 BTC on Wednesday, the lowest since December 2022.
  • Source: Glassnode

- Omkar Godbole

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Edited by Omkar Godbole.


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Jamie Crawley

Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.

Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.