In January, the Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) of BlackRock and Fidelity, namely the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) and the Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC), respectively, attracted billions of dollars in inflows. These two spot Bitcoin funds were among the top 10 most popular US-listed ETFs for the month. They outperformed money market funds and competed with some of the most dominant equity funds.
Less than a month since the first spot Bitcoin ETFs were listed in the US, the most popular ones have already accumulated billions of dollars worth of investment each. Although they still have some way to go before they catch up with Grayscale’s GBTC, IBIT and FBTC have risen to the top in terms of inflows, raking in over $5 billion between them at a time when GBTC has been losing capital.
Closing the gap with Grayscale
At the close of trading on Friday, February 2, IBIT’s net assets value (NAV) stood at $3.12 billion, having attracted more investment than any of its peers in January. Meanwhile, FBTC had a NAV of $2.66 billion, more than triple that of its closest competitor – Ark Invest and 21Shares’ ARKB, which trailed behind in third place.
Currently, Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF remains the largest, holding Bitcoin worth $20.39 billion. However, while nine new spot Bitcoin ETFs pulled in significant investment in January, GBTC has witnessed cumulative outflows of nearly $6 billion. Despite massive outflows from GBTC, these are more than balanced out by capital that has flowed into other funds.
Undisputed Dominance of Bitcoin
Overall, spot Bitcoin ETFs have attracted net inflows of around $1.58 billion. In fact, IBIT and FBTC emerged as two of the most popular ETFs in January, joining a top ten list that has traditionally been dominated by funds that invest in the US government bonds and blue-chip American stocks.
In a typical month, the ten ETFs with the most inflows consist mostly of index funds that track the US stock market, with a handful of USD money market funds also in the mix. However, as Bitcoin funds made their debut in January, Morningstar data shows that only one bond-focused ETF made the top 10.
Many ask if this mean that crypto now rivals Treasuries as the ETF market’s second-favourite asset class after equities. In fact the combined value of all Bitcoin funds is still dwarfed by the largest money market funds, which each hold bills, notes, and bonds worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Nevertheless, the significance of Bitcoin in global financial markets is now undisputed. If IBIT and FBTC sustain their current rate of investment, within five years they will rival the largest ETFs in existence today.
Impact on other cryptocurrency
The introduction of Bitcoin ETFs like those from BlackRock and Fidelity can have several impacts on other cryptocurrencies:
Increased Legitimacy: The arrival of Bitcoin ETFs gives cryptocurrencies more legitimacy as an alternative investment option. This could indirectly benefit other cryptocurrencies as it may lead to increased interest and acceptance in the broader crypto market.
Market Dynamics and Liquidity: The approval of Bitcoin ETFs is expected to inject liquidity into the cryptocurrency market. This could potentially lead to increased trading volumes for other cryptocurrencies as well.
Institutional Participation: The entry of institutional investors into the cryptocurrency market through ETFs could mark a significant step toward market maturity. This could potentially foster greater acceptance of other cryptocurrencies within the broader financial ecosystem.
Accessibility for Retail Investors: Bitcoin ETFs provide an accessible entry point for retail investors. This could potentially attract a wider audience to participate in the cryptocurrency market, benefiting other cryptocurrencies as well.
However, it’s important to note that the impact on other cryptocurrencies will depend on various factors, including market dynamics, investor sentiment, and regulatory developments. As the crypto market continues to evolve, the effects of Bitcoin ETFs on other cryptocurrencies will become clearer.