As per the latest analysis conducted by CoinShares, Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, witnessed outflows totaling $4.8 million in the past week, accumulating to a substantial $108 million in sales for the year.
This positions Ethereum as the digital asset that has experienced the most significant divestment by major institutions, as noted by James Butterfill, CoinShares’ Head of Research, who referred to it as the “least favored digital asset” among exchange-traded product (ETP) investors. Ethereum’s outflows surpass those of the second-ranking digital asset, Tron, by more than $50 million.
However, the situation might change in the near future, following the news that Ark Invest, led by Cathie Wood, applied for the first Ethereum Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) in the United States.
This development comes at a time when the Ethereum network has transitioned to an inflationary phase, and on-chain activity has declined amidst the ongoing bear market.
Nevertheless, the sentiment toward institutional involvement in the cryptocurrency market remains pessimistic, with CoinShares’ weekly report indicating a fourth consecutive week of institutional selling, resulting in outflows of $59 million over the past seven days. The cumulative outflows, as highlighted by James Butterfill, have now reached $294 million, constituting approximately 0.9% of the total assets under management (AUM).
The selling pressure primarily originated from North America, with Canada and the United States witnessing substantial outflows of $17.6 million and $12.3 million, respectively, in the past week. Germany also played a significant role in the European context, with sales amounting to $20 million.
When asked, Butterfill explained to Decrypt that the primary driving factor behind this extensive selling spree is the strength of the U.S. dollar, driven by the market’s belief in a “soft landing scenario,” evident in eight consecutive weeks of positive performance. However, Butterfill anticipates a potential shift in this perception by the end of the year, especially if higher interest rates come into play.
Despite a previous report from CoinShares indicating heightened trading activity with volumes surging by 90% to $2.8 billion, the most recent week witnessed a sharp decline in trading activity. The trading volumes have reached notably low levels, averaging “just” $2.3 billion daily over the past month, a stark contrast to the annual average of $7 billion. The past seven days recorded an even more substantial decline, with volumes dropping by 73% to $743 million.
Butterfill suggests that this trend indicates a sense of indifference among investors. However, he acknowledges that the cryptocurrency market has experienced similar scenarios before the last two Bitcoin halving events. Interestingly, Bitcoin emerged as the most affected cryptocurrency asset during the previous week, with large entities offloading a significant $69 million worth of Bitcoin, despite its positive performance in the preceding week.
Looking ahead, Butterfill speculates that many investors are closely monitoring the Federal Reserve’s decisions regarding interest rates this month, with potential weakness in the U.S. dollar likely to support Bitcoin prices. However, he also highlights the possibility of Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures exceeding expectations due to a rapid surge in gasoline prices. Additionally, concerns exist regarding potential overhangs in FTX asset sales.