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Crypto Market Update: $BTC Price Rises Above $48K As Bitcoin ETF Volume Tops $1 Billion

Bitcoin ($BTC)

A lot has been going on in the crypto market besides the launch of the BlackRock BTC ETF alongside 10 others. Here is an update on the most interesting events in crypto since the start of 2024.

The price of Bitcoin (COIN: $BTC) has risen by 13.72% over the past week and is now at around $48.1K per coin. In contrast, the rest of the crypto market was in turmoil, ignited by the fall of regional bank stocks. The slide was triggered by the selloff of New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) stock. Additional pressure on these stocks came from the Fed’s decision to hold rates.

Towards the end of January, the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies increased significantly. This notable surge was the first rally since the approval of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs on January 10. The Bitcoin ETFs include those from major investment firms like BlackRock, Grayscale, Fidelity, and Hashdex.

Standard Chartered Bank Predicts Ethereum ETF Approval

Standard Chartered forecasts that the SEC will approve an Ethereum ETF by May 23 this year. Approval could send the price of ETH close to $4,000.

The head of Crypto Strategy and Emerging Markets FX at Standard Chartered Bank, Geoffrey Kendrick, said, “We expect pending applications for ETH U.S. spot ETFs to be approved on May 23, the final deadline for the first of the ETFs under consideration — the equivalent date to January 10 for BTC ETFs.

He added, “If ETH prices perform similarly to how BTC prices performed in the lead-up to BTC ETF approval, ETH could trade as high as $4,000 by then.”

Kendrick’s forecast is based on the fact that the SEC has never brought any legal action referring to Ethereum as a security. He said, “Grayscale also has an ETH trust that it wants to turn into an ETF, so a denial of that application would likely lead to another appeal by Grayscale.”

He also forecasts Bitcoin spot ETFs will attract inflows ranging from $50 billion to $100 billion this year. The analyst projects that could push the price of Bitcoin to $100,000.

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BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Surpasses Grayscale’s GBTC Trading Volume

Grayscale’s spot Bitcoin ETF, GBTC, had dominated the daily trading volume for 14 days. However, on Thursday, February 1, 2024, BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF, IBIT, surpassed GBTC’s daily trading volume for the first time. Earlier this week, Blackrock and Fidelity spotted Bitcoin ETFs came close to beating Grayscale GBTC trading volume.

In a tweet, Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart said, “BlackRock’s IBIT is the first ETF to trade more than Grayscale’s GBTC in a single day.”

He added, “Total trading today was kind of a dud though at $924 million — the first day below $1 billion in dollar volume for the group since launch.”

BlackRock’s IBIT also dominated in inflows, adding a significant amount of $163.2 million to the fund. Meanwhile, GBTC recorded outflows of $182 million, the least since January 11, 2024.

According to the BitMEX data, as of the fifteenth day of trading, the total net inflows amount to approximately $1.4 billion.

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest Buys 94,918 Shares of Its Own Bitcoin ETF

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest recently made a significant move in the cryptocurrency market, purchasing nearly 95,000 shares of its ARK 21 Shares Bitcoin Spot ETF on Thursday, January 25. This transaction, totaling around $3.78 million, highlights Ark Invest’s confidence in its own Bitcoin ETF offerings.

At the same time, the firm sold off nearly 199,000 ProShares Bitcoin Futures ETF shares, amounting to roughly $3.82 million. This strategic maneuver showcases Ark Invest’s proactive approach to adapting to market changes and optimizing its portfolio.

Over the past two months, the firm has been reshuffling its portfolio, reducing its holdings in crypto firms like Coinbase and Block Inc. While selling over 300,000 shares of Coinbase, Ark Invest has simultaneously increased its exposure to Bitcoin products and Tesla. This agile approach underscores Cathie Wood’s commitment to navigating the evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies and maximizing returns for Ark Invests investors.

USDT Issuer Tether Takes Its Bitcoin (BTC) Holdings to Over 66,450

USDT issuer Tether has significantly expanded its Bitcoin holdings, with the latest acquisition of 8,888 BTC in Q4 2023, marking its third-largest purchase to date. This brings Tether’s total BTC holdings to 66,465, valued at around $2.8 billion.

The company began accumulating Bitcoin in September 2022 and has continued to increase its reserves each quarter. Despite not officially disclosing its Bitcoin addresses, analysts have identified one associated with Tether, confirming its position as the 11th-largest Bitcoin holder.

MicroStrategy’s CEO, Michael Saylor, Sold 5,000 MSTR stocks to invest in Bitcoin.

MicroStrategy’s co-founder, Michael Saylor, recently sold between 3,882 and 5,000 MSTR shares between January 2 and January 10, coinciding with the SEC’s approval of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This marked the first instance of Saylor selling company shares in nearly 12 years, with estimated proceeds exceeding $20 million.

The sales were part of a pre-existing plan disclosed last year, intending to sell up to 400,000 shares by April 26, 2024. Despite MicroStrategy’s substantial Bitcoin holdings, currently valued at approximately $8.3 billion, the company’s stock has declined by 23% since the start of the year amid concerns regarding the impact of Bitcoin ETFs on its appeal as an investment. Saylor, however, believes that the launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs won’t adversely affect MicroStrategy’s stock price. 

BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF Witnesses Fifth-Highest Inflows Among All ETFs

According to the data provided by Bloomberg Intelligence, the BlackRock iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) has entered into the list of top five ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds) in only 17 days. Furthermore, large and established index ETFs from iShares and Vanguard are the only ones that have topped IBIT’s $3.2 billion year-to-date inflows.

Leading the pack with $13 billion in inflows year-to-date is the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV), boasting an impressive $428 billion in assets under management (AUM). Following closely in second place with $11.1 billion in inflows is the Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (VOO), with nearly $398 billion in AUM.  

Elon Musk Shares His Honest Opinion On Bitcoin

On January 10, 2024, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and X, recognized the engineering skills behind the Bitcoin mechanism. His remarks were made against the backdrop of the historic approval of the first-ever spot Bitcoin ETF in the United States.

The billionaire said that he thinks of the cryptocurrency very little as he does more about things he works on in conversation with the Ark Invest chief executive officer Cathie Wood.

“I am open to the idea of ​​using Bitcoin, but of all the things I think of, I think of Bitcoin very little.”

Bitcoin Payments Soon to be Accepted at Japanese E-commerce Giant Mercari

Japan is one of the most crypto-friendly countries in Asia, and cryptocurrency is now gaining adoption by businesses. Mercari, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in Japan, said that It will begin accepting Bitcoin payments on its platform starting June 2024.

According to a report by Nikkei, Mercari will enable the transaction of Bitcoins under its subsidiary based in Tokyo, Melcoin. Melcoin will handle the conversion of all Bitcoin payments into Japanese Yen. Consequently, while buyers can choose to pay with BTC, vendors will receive the equivalent amount in fiat currency. In addition, the products will be priced in Japanese Yen.

This notable move by the Japanese company could lead to increased adoption of cryptocurrency amongst Japanese e-commerce businesses. In a recent survey, individuals in Japan who started trading cryptocurrencies towards the end of 2022 overwhelmingly preferred Mercari’s Bitcoin Trading app (24.7%), with Rakuten’s Rakuten Wallet platform (24.2%) coming in a close second.

Bitcoin Worth Over $1 Million Transferred to Satoshi’s Wallet

Is Satoshi back? That is what everyone in the crypto community has been wondering for the past few days. A recent transaction hinted that he is back. 

Following the crypto community’s celebration of the 15th anniversary, marking Satoshi Nakamoto’s mining of the genesis block of Bitcoin, someone transferred 27 BTC, worth over a million, into Satoshi’s wallet address (1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa).

The transaction was executed on January 6, 2024, sparking an online frenzy that Satoshi Nakamoto was back. 

Bitcoin ETFs Top $1 Billion in Trading Volume 

On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the total daily trading volume for Bitcoin spot ETFs surpassed the $1 billion mark. At the helm was the BlackRock ETF. 

Total daily trading volume for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) topped a billion dollars on Feb. 7, with BlackRock leading the pack. On the day, BlackRock’s ETF saw a daily trading volume of $341.2 million, far above Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF, which saw $296.5 million in volume. 

Bloomerg’s analyst James Seyffart described the event as a “big volume day” for the BlackRock ETF. Seyffart commented that topping $1 billion was not a big deal for Bitcoin ETFs. He noted that it was a notable uptick but still below the trading volume in the first two weeks. 

What Next For Crypto?

Bitcoin continues to hold around the $48.1K price-level. Analysts predict the next target is $49K. If it holds above the $45.2K level, that would be a great indicator of strong medium-term bullish momentum. 

A potential slowdown in momentum could come from China, where markets will be closed down for Chinese New Year celebrations. That could reduce the crypto market liquidity in the Asian markets. 

Additionally, key economic indicators coming out next week, such as the US CPI on Tuesday, the US Retails sales data on Thursday, and the US PPI on Friday, could set the tone for the crypto market for the rest of the month.

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