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Bitcoin touches a 13-month high as the drumbeat for institutional demand grows louder

Galaxy Digital's CIO explains what to expect from crypto in the second half of 2023

Bitcoin touched a 13-month high on Thursday as the drumbeat for institutional bitcoin demand grew louder following comments from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.

The cryptocurrency ended the day flat at $30,302.03, according to Coin Metrics. Early in the morning, it climbed to about $31,450, reaching its highest level since June 2022. It gave back those gains, however, after better-than-expected U.S. jobs data increased investor worries about path of interest rates.

The earlier move was in contrast to both weaker stock prices and rising yields — the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note later climbed above 4% to a 16-year high. Additionally, the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June meeting, released Wednesday, showed that most officials would support more rate increases ahead. Cryptocurrency liquidity has been low for several months, continuing to exaggerate both up and down moves.

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Bitcoin (BTC) pulled back Thursday following better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.

“There is still a weight on the price,” said Noelle Acheson, economist and author of the “Crypto is Macro Now” newsletter. “We have often over the past few weeks seen selling resistance at around $31,000. That will eventually be broken, but meanwhile traditional markets seem to be entering a more risk-off mood – we can’t yet assume that bitcoin will just shrug that off.”

Sentiment among traders was high though, after BlackRock CEO Larry Fink gave bitcoin perhaps its biggest ever endorsement from a major institutional player. Speaking on Fox Business News on Wednesday, Fink called bitcoin “an international asset” and said it’s “not based on any one currency so it can represent an asset that people can play as an alternative.”

Bitcoin has steadily climbed since June 15, when BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, first filed to launch a spot bitcoin ETF. The number of coins held by institutions through trusts, ETFs and funds has spiked since then, reaching its highest level in more than a year, according to CryptoQuant, and bitcoin open interest is back to pre-FTX levels.

“Market participants are reacting favorably to the entrance of legacy financial institutions into bitcoin — a trend that lends further validity to an asset that was once believed to be a passing fad,” said Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale, whose bitcoin trust is awaiting the green light to convert into an ETF.

“More importantly, though, recent news of new entrants into bitcoin underscores the staying power of this asset class more broadly, and many investors view this as a once in a generation investment opportunity,” Sonnenshein added.

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