During the month of January, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) conducted aggressive Bitcoin selling, shedding a total of 132,195 BTC. This substantial sell-off reduced GBTC’s Bitcoin holdings by 21%, decreasing from 619,220 BTC on January 11 to 487,025 BTC by January 31.
In contrast, nine other Bitcoin spot ETFs in the United States increased their holdings by a significant amount. These non-GBTC ETFs collectively added 142,294 Bitcoin since the beginning of the month. This increase represents a growth of as much as 674%, rising from 18,390 BTC at the start of trading to 160,684 BTC as of January 31.
As of January 31, all ten spot Bitcoin ETFs together held a total of 647,709 BTC, indicating a 1.6% growth from the initial combined holdings of 637,610 BTC. These holdings are currently valued at approximately $27 billion based on the current market value.
The data regarding these holdings is derived from publicly available information provided by ETF issuers. Notably, BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) did not update its daily holdings at the time of reporting. However, it is possible to track IBIT’s holdings using data from the blockchain platform Arkham Intelligence. According to Arkham’s data, BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin ETF holds 57,488 BTC as of the current date, suggesting that IBIT sold 6,000 BTC on the last day of January.
This sell-off of 6,000 BTC by BlackRock’s iShares ETF resulted in it stepping down from the position of the second-largest spot Bitcoin fund by holdings. Fidelity’s Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC) took its place, holding 58,400 BTC as of January 31.
Despite the collective increase of 1.6% in total holdings across all ten spot Bitcoin ETFs in January, the price of Bitcoin experienced significant volatility during the same period. Bitcoin’s price started the year at approximately $45,000 but faced turbulence, dropping below $39,000 on January 23. As of the current date, Bitcoin is trading at $42,215, marking an 8% decrease over the past 30 days.
It’s worth noting that the launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the United States was considered a “sell the news” event by many analysts and industry experts. Some suggested that additional pressure could arise from the futures market. ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood predicted in late 2023 that investors might “sell on the news” of spot Bitcoin ETF approval in the short term but emphasized the promising long-term perspective for these ETFs.