As the year concludes, Bitcoin’s journey has been characterized by highs and lows, punctuated by an impressive rally of around 150% and, more recently, a remarkable exodus of the flagship cryptocurrency from centralized exchanges.
On Wednesday alone, over 28,000 BTC left these exchanges, amounting to a staggering $1.19 billion. This massive single-day outflow is the largest recorded since December 14, 2022, according to data from blockchain analytics firm Glassnode.
Historically, a decrease in the number of coins held on exchanges is interpreted as a shift towards long-term holding or investors’ preference for direct custody. This aligns with the broader narrative of the crypto market maturing and investors adopting a more strategic approach to their holdings.
Notably, the outflow was particularly pronounced on Coinbase, the custodian for nine of the 12 proposed spot BTC exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. Over the past few days, Coinbase has witnessed an outflow exceeding 30,000 BTC, the largest outflow since May this year. This withdrawal brings the exchange’s balance to 411,000 BTC, the lowest level since May 2015. The crypto community speculates about potential institutional activity, possibly anticipating an expected spot ETF launch in early January.
Insights from crypto research firm Cryptoquant shared through a tweet thread on December 28, delved deeper into the dynamics at play. The data suggests that a higher percentage of Bitcoin investors are holding for the long term, reaching a historical high in terms of real capitalization value. Compared to the past, the current scenario indicates that long-term investors are holding for more extended periods, with a lower risk of rapid distribution and downward pressure on market prices.
Adding to the intrigue, Santiment’s recent report reveals a surge in the number of wallets holding Bitcoin, signalling sustained strength in the market. This uptick is observed in Bitcoin and other top-cap assets, including stablecoins like Tether and USDCoin, reflecting a broader trend driven by the ongoing bull rally.
That said, with the imminent approval of several spot Bitcoin ETFs in January, the crypto community is divided on Bitcoin’s fate. Optimists anticipate a breakthrough past the $44,400 resistance, while sceptics fear a downturn triggered by a panic sell-off post-ETF approval.
At press time, Bitcoin was trading at $44,050 after a 3.52% increase over the past 24 hours, as per CoinMarketCap data.