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Is the Bitcoin ETF rally over?

Published 05/06/2024, 11:36 AM
© Reuters

Bitcoin price has more than doubled since the batch of spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) began trading in the U.S. back in January.

Demand from these regulated vehicles was so intense that the original cryptocurrency hit a new all-time high, driven by a flurry of Bitcoin purchases. 

However, it seems that the market might have gotten a bit ahead of itself in the hype, according to Kaiko Research, as investors offloaded crypto ETFs at the fastest pace last week.

Both ETF inflows and the Bitcoin (BTC) rally decelerated in early April. Last week, BlackRock (NYSE:BLK)'s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) saw its first daily outflow of $37 million, breaking a 71-day streak of consecutive inflows. 

On Friday, however, the tide seemed to turn, with strong inflows across various ETFs, including Grayscale's GBTC. Additionally, BlackRock's IBIT fund is currently nearing parity with GBTC in terms of holdings. Kaiko analysts attribute this rebound in ETF inflows to U.S. jobs data, which sparked speculation about interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

Globally, competition among ETFs is heating up. Last week, three mainland Chinese asset managers—Bosera Asset Management, Harvest Global Investments, and China Asset Management—launched Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) spot ETFs in Hong Kong.

The first trading day saw a combined volume of $12.7 million across Hong Kong dollar, renminbi, and U.S. dollar trading pairs. 

Although this volume is modest when compared to the $4.6 billion traded by U.S. spot ETFs at their launch, it highlights the relatively smaller scale of the Hong Kong ETF market.

“Interestingly, ChinaAMC's Bitcoin ETF saw the strongest volume despite its higher fee of 99 basis points. ETH ETFs attracted 23% of the total first day volume, while BTC accounted for the majority at 77%,” Kaiko note reads. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, demand for crypto exposure remains strong. According to recent mandatory 13F filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a Hong Kong-based asset manager is the largest holder of BlackRock's IBIT fund.

Although inflows into spot crypto ETFs have slowed, institutional interest in tokenizing real-world assets (RWA) is gaining traction. Last week, BlackRock's BUIDL fund crossed the $300 million mark, overtaking Franklin Templeton's BENJI to become the largest tokenized U.S. Treasuries fund.

This growth was propelled by Ondo Finance, which moved $95 million to BlackRock's fund.


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