Bitcoin ETFs see record 3-day outflow as retail investors ‘dart in and out of positions’



The 10 trading spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds reported the largest three-day outflow since launching on Jan. 11, according to Bloomberg data, a reversal of the staggering inflows that contributed to the token reaching an all-time high of $72,000 last week.

This week so far, over $742 million has left the funds, due to $1.4 billion in outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust this week alone, plus a slower rate of inflows into the BlackRock and Fidelity offerings—the second- and third-most popular products, respectively.

“It’s not unusual to see ETF flows shift based on the price action in the underlying asset class—and Bitcoin has pulled back recently. As successful as spot Bitcoin ETFs have been, they’re not going to vacuum up new money every single day,” Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, told Fortune.

The recent uptick in GBTC outflows likely stems from earlier investors ​looking to lock in gains after Bitcoin recently hit all-time highs, Robert Le, a crypto analyst at Pitchbook, told Fortune.

“The Grayscale team anticipated GBTC’s diverse shareholder base would engage in investment strategies that would impact the Trust’s flows, including harvesting gains, engaging in arbitrage trading, and liquidating shares to repay creditors in various bankrupt estates,” Grayscale said in a statement.

Geraci notes that many registered investment advisors (RIAs) and institutional investors “have yet to even dip their toes” in the funds, because they are “extremely methodical” in how they allocate funds. As a result, he estimates the primary driver of flows so far have been retail investors and traders “who are much more likely to dart in and out of positions.”

Indeed, according to data from Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) is seeing an average of 250,000 trades in a day, with an average trade size of 326 shares—about $13,000—suggesting those trades were made by retail investors, Balchunas told CoinDesk.

Because of RIAs’ responsibilities to clients, and the required due diligence, it “seems like it will take a bit of time” before more begin recommending Bitcoin-related products to clients, notes Pitchbook’s Le. In the meantime, retail traders’ moves will continue to have a greater effect on pricing.

“It will take time for true institutions and wealth managers and advisors to start buying these things for their clients,” Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart told Fortune. “We still don’t know how much demand there is from that channel, but there is likely to be demand down the line.”

Despite the recent outflows, the ETFs overall have seen net inflows of over $11.4 billion to date, making their debuts some of the most successful ever, Bloomberg reported.

Bitcoin was trading near $65,800 around 2 p.m. ET Thursday afternoon, about $6,000 less than its all-time high on March 14. On Wednesday, Bitcoin dropped to almost $61,000, a 16% plunge from its all-time high the week before, as traders waited to hear for the results of the Federal Reserve meeting, namely, if interest rates would be cut. (Rates remained unchanged.)





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