A new market report from Bitfinex suggests that a sizable sell-off of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust exchange-traded fund (ETF) shares, partly driven by bankrupt exchange FTX, significantly impacted Bitcoin’s recent price drop in January 2024.
According to the update from Bitfinex Alpha, the realization of profits following Grayscale’s successful conversion of its GBTC trust to an ETF was a significant influence on the marketwide correction that took BTC from $48,700 to $38,600 in a matter of days.
The report highlights $4.3 billion outflows following GBTC’s conversion to a spot Bitcoin ETF on Jan. 16. Conversely, the highest net inflows for an individual spot Bitcoin ETF were to BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), attracting $1.82 billion.
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Bitfinex analysts also draw attention to the impact of ETF flows on the BTC price, illustrated by the fact that there was no flow of funds into the respective spot Bitcoin ETF on Saturday, Jan. 20.
Grayscale’s GBTC remains the largest Bitcoin ETF, with its total assets under management hovering around the $24 billion mark despite dropping from $28.6 billion before its conversion.
FTX sells GBTC shares as ETF fee battle begins
The Bitfinex report also notes that converting Grayscale’s trust to a spot Bitcoin ETF facilitated the sale of significant shares held by bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. FTX sold 22 million GBTC shares, valued at nearly $1 billion, completely liquidating its shares.
Another factor highlighted by Bitfinex Alpha is the impact of spot BTC ETF fees. The report notes that Grayscale’s competitors currently charge fees ranging from 0.2% to 0.9%, while it charges 1.5%:
“This higher fee structure might be influencing the migration of investors from GBTC to other ETFs, particularly towards traditional finance (TradFi) giants that have more experience in managing ETFs.”
The analysts suggest that investors are looking for more cost-effective ways to gain exposure to Bitcoin, which has impacted the shift of capital within the nascent Bitcoin ETF space. As January draws to a close, ETF data suggests that the movement of capital between the various ETF funds is beginning to settle.
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