Monday, March 4, 2024

The Grayscale Effect: The Bitcoin Price Has A New Prime Trading Hour

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The crypto trading landscape is witnessing a paradigm shift with the recent introduction of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the United States, catalyzing a new wave of trading dynamics. Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart revealed that the total trading volume of the US spot Bitcoin ETFs over a span of the first three days approached the $10 billion mark.

This substantial volume was predominantly led by Grayscale’s GBTC, with a three-day trading volume amounting to $5.174 billion, followed by BlackRock’s IBIT at $1.997 billion, and Fidelity’s FBTC at $1.479 billion, cumulating to an aggregate trading volume of approximately $9.771 billion.

Update on the #Bitcoin ETF Cointucky Derby. The ETFs have traded almost $10 billion total over 3 days. Will have updated flows and assets later tonight or tomorrow morning. pic.twitter.com/OnpCshjYJP

— James Seyffart (@JSeyff) January 16, 2024

Despite these impressive figures, Bitcoin’s price performance has not mirrored the trading volume’s growth, a phenomenon analysts attribute to a strategic pivot among Grayscale’s clientele. Investors are increasingly transitioning their capital from Grayscale’s GBTC, with its 1.5% annual fee, to more cost-effective spot BTC ETFs, some offering fees as low as 0.25%.

This shift, however, is not seamless due to the cash-redemption process prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Consequently, investors find themselves navigating a temporal gap, redeeming cash and reallocating it to other spot BTC ETFs, typically a few days later.

Understanding The Grayscale Effect On Bitcoin Price

This operational characteristic of Grayscale’s GBTC, which does not facilitate same-day cash redemptions for BTC and operates on a T+2 or T+1 settlement basis, has given rise to a discernible trading pattern. Alex Thorn, Head of Research at Galaxy, provided insight into this phenomenon, stating:

We’re seeing significant Bitcoin trading volume now during US hours, particularly between 3-4pm NY now during the ETF fix, escalating into what has lately been a predictable Grayscale dump into the close. The game is evolving.

Echoing this sentiment, Daan Crypto Trades observed a consistent pattern in Grayscale’s operations, highlighting, “Grayscale is sending X amount of Bitcoin to Coinbase ~1 hour before the market opens every trading day. Will be a good indicator to gauge how bad the outflows of GBTC are I think. 4K BTC was sent Friday. 9K BTC was sent [Monday].”

Further substantiating these observations, Maartunn from CryptoQuant remarked on the tangible outflow of Bitcoin from Grayscale’s fund, particularly to Coinbase, stating, “Data doesn’t lie, as seen once again. Shortly after the inflow of Bitcoin from Grayscale to Coinbase, the Coinbase Premium Gap, previously positive, turned negative for the first time this year, indicating strong selling pressure from Coinbase.”

He emphasized the correlation between these events and the increased trading volume on Coinbase, especially during the trading hours of the American stock market.

Crypto analyst James Van Straten further detailed the pattern of Grayscale redemptions to Coinbase Prime, noting, “We’re starting to see a pattern of Grayscale redemptions to Coinbase Prime just before the market opens. 9k Bitcoin ($387M) sent to Coinbase Prime all before 2:30 (GMT) on Jan 16. On Jan. 12, 4k Bitcoin before the market opened.”

As these patterns continue to manifest and evolve, the Grayscale effect is evidently reshaping the prime trading hour for Bitcoin, introducing a new layer of complexity and strategy in the crypto trading arena. Importantly, the Grayscale selling pressure will not last forever, but as long as it exists, it could continue to put some pressure on the Bitcoin price.

Until then, following the Grayscale flows could be crucial for determining BTC price trends. Grayscale still holds circa 587,000 to 617,000 Bitcoin, depending on the data provider.

At press time, BTC traded at $42,754.

Bitcoin price
BTC price, 4-hour chart | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Featured image from DALL·E  3, chart from TradingView.com

Disclaimer: The article is provided for educational purposes only. It does not represent the opinions of NewsBTC on whether to buy, sell or hold any investments and naturally investing carries risks. You are advised to conduct your own research before making any investment decisions. Use information provided on this website entirely at your own risk.

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