The institutional herd has arrived to the Bitcoin market as institutional platforms see record-high volume.
The daily volume of the CME Bitcoin (BTC) futures market and LMAX achieved a new all-time high on Jan. 4. The data show that the institutional demand for BTC is rapidly surging as major public funds continue to accumulate.
Institutional appetite for Bitcoin is accelerating
According to analysts at Arcane Research, the daily volume of LMAX Digital reached a record-high at $2.62 billion.
LMAX is a trading platform that tailors to institutional and accredited investors, unlike retail-focused platforms such as Coinbase and Binance. Arcane Research’s head of research Bendik Norheim Schei wrote:
“Want another ‘Institutional investors are here’ chart? Here’s the daily volume on the institutional platform LMAX Digital. New all-time high volume of $2.6 billion yesterday.”
During the same period, the CME Bitcoin futures market also achieved an all-time high volume at $2.7 billion in dollar terms.
On CME, traders use Bitcoin-backed contracts and as such, when the price of Bitcoin increases, so does the value of contracts.
The massive increase in the trading volume of institutional platforms comes as funds are aggressively investing in Bitcoin.
On Jan. 5, Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House Director of Communications, said his hedge fund SkyBridge entered a $300 million Bitcoin position from November to December of last year. He said:
“We @SkyBridge entered the #bitcoin market in Nov/Dec with a now ~$300mm position, and today launched a #bitcoin fund offering for accredited investors. We believe we’re in the early innings of a new asset class with tremendous upside.”
With SkyBridge’s investment in Bitcoin, nine funds now hold $23 billion worth of Bitcoin, according to technology researcher Kevin Rooke.
9 funds now hold over $23 billion of Bitcoin. pic.twitter.com/sfffwYK4oA
— Kevin Rooke (@kerooke) January 4, 2021
Grayscale still holds the most Bitcoin at $19 billion through its flagship product the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).
GBTC is an alternative to an exchange-traded fund, or ETF, in the U.S. in that institutions and accredited investors can gain exposure to Bitcoin through a strictly regulated vehicle.
What’s next for BTC?
Despite the massive inflow of institutional capital into the Bitcoin market, the price of BTC sharply corrected on Jan. 4.
The Bitcoin price dropped by over 15% on a single day after more than $2 billion worth of futures contracts were liquidated.
Ki Young Ju, the CEO of CryptoQuant, said that derivatives traders are now uncertain and fearful, based on the declining leverage across major exchanges. He said:
“This indicator is better than the Fear & Greed index. $BTC derivative traders are uncertain about the next move, and scared.”
Estimated Leverage Ratio across exchanges is decreasing.
Chart https://t.co/5cT9wVNv16 pic.twitter.com/m2emoxL1fK
— CryptoQuant.com (@cryptoquant_com) January 5, 2021
In the near term, this could result in a consolidation period, where Bitcoin sees lower volatility following a massive uptrend.
In the last 48 hours, Bitcoin has still been able to remain above the $30,000 support level, which is an optimistic sign of positive momentum.
Whale clusters suggest that the next major support area is $29,300, which would be a crucial technical level to defend for the ongoing rally to see renewed momentum.
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