Bitcoin ETF Buying Led by Retail, Hedge Funds, FAs; Larger Players Still to Come: Bitwise CIO

The large U.S. wirehouses have yet to offer the newish funds to their clients, Matt Hougan told CNBC.

AccessTimeIconFeb 29, 2024 at 5:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 10:25 p.m. UTC
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  • Bitwise chief investment officer Matt Hougan expects even more demand for the spot bitcoin ETFs as larger U.S. wirehouses begin participating.
  • He said that the current demand has been largely coming from retail investors, hedge funds and independent financial advisors.
  • Bitwise's Bitcoin Fund (BITB) is one of four spot bitcoin ETFs that have crossed $1 billion in AUM since launch.

The ten spot bitcoin ETFs have arguably had one of the most successful launches in history with trading volume and inflows reaching new highs this week, but Bitwise Chief Investment Officer Matt Hougan expects even more demand is on the way.

In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Hougan said that the initial demand for the ETFs, among them his own company's BITB, has largely been coming from retail investors, hedge funds and independent financial advisors.

“I think there’s an even bigger wave coming in a few months as the major wirehouses come on,” he said. Some of the largest wirehouses in the U.S. include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, none of whom have yet to offer the funds to clients.

The bitcoin ETFs on Wednesday blew through their daily volume record with roughly $7.7 billion in trading, up from the previous record of $4.7 billion which had come a day earlier.

BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin ETF (IBIT) had nearly $3.3 billion in volume, more than double the previous record of $1.35 billion. The fund also now has more than $9 billion in assets under management, sitting atop the AUM leaderboard for the new funds (ex-GBTC, which was in existence as a closed-end fund prior to its conversion to an ETF).

Following IBIT, Fidelity's FBTC has accumulated more than $6 billion in AUM, and the only other two funds with more than $1 billion in AUM are ARK/21Shares' ARKB and Bitwise's BITB.

"There'll be some consolidation," said Hougan, who expects six to eight of the ETFs surviving long term.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.

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