Chief Economist at Chainalysis

London
Joined June 2011
As the bitcoin price fell back to late Jan levels yesterday - the time that institutions started to sell after their rapid acquisition of 1.1 million bitcoin from late Sep - I've looked at the data to ask whether $50k+ prices in Feb to May were supported by more than hype
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Realized losses since 10 May have been limited, at $2 bn for investors buying in the last 3 months and $10 bn for services (exchanges), while being minimal for other groups in aggregate. So investors are holding, although not buying much, suggesting conviction from Q1 remains
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Also, most types of holders acquired their bitcoin at a cost close to the current price, so their USD gain per bitcoin held is above zero. Only investors buying in the last 3 months now face paper losses. These are large, at $15k per BTC on average across the 2.4 m BTC they hold
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While this data 👆 supports investors valuing bitcoin at $50k+, outflows from fiat exchanges to self-hosted wallets declined from mid-March. So when prices were highest, investor accumulation lowest - suggesting price in April was due to an illiquid market & hype not institutions
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Thanks @money2020, @paymentalist and Rachel Morrissey for having me on MoneyPot! It is a great listen if you want to understand how data can help you understand crypto.
Do You Know Where Your Bitcoin Has Been Lately? On a new podcast @philip_gradwell, @chainalysis & @Paymentalist explore how law enforcement is leveraging their software to track #bitcoin transactions & how it has helped legitimize #crypto markets Tune in! spoti.fi/3fUQL0T
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Had a lot of interest in data on whales buying the dip so here is more! The bitcoin price has fallen from start to end of the week in 27 of the 72 weeks since start of 2020 Investor whales tend to buy dips, buying 599k BTC in 18 of the 27 dips & selling 206k BTC in the other 9
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Trader whales are balanced across dips, as you might expect They added 144k bitcoin in 13 of 27 weekly price falls while selling 204k bitcoin in the other 14 dips
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Whales that acquired their bitcoin before 2017, the OGs, sell in price dips since 2020, selling 79k bitcoin in 26 of 27 weekly price falls
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What is a whale? It is a self-hosted wallet that has held at least 1,000 bitcoin during its lifetime An investor whale is a whale that on avg retains at least 75% of the bitcoin it receives A trader whale is a whale that retains on avg less than 75% of the bitcoin it receives
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In my latest Market Intel Report, I quantify the losses from last week's price fall: at least $3.2 bn of losses were realised by bitcoin sent on-chain, the highest ever 1 wk USD loss. This is for BTC sent after being held for 4+ wks: most of this was lost by BTC held for 4-13 wks
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For BTC it was as bad as it could get. Price went below the current $37.8k avg cost of BTC held by investors who entered in the last 12 mths. If price stays below this then recent investors are doubting their buy-&-hold valuations. But price closed near that for most of the week.
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For ETH, the price fall remained well above the $1.7k avg cost of ETH held by investors who entered in the last 12 months. While the ETH price fall was big, it was from a recent & short-lived all time high, which is well above most people’s lower bound valuation for ETH.
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Miners are less important to price than ppl think. Bitcoin miners from 2014 currently hold max 341k BTC, compared to 4.7M BTC held by investor whales In 2021 miners sold 1-2k BTC per day, ~10% of exchange inflows not from other exchanges. This has jumped recently but remains low
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The cost of bitcoin acquired by investors in the last 12 months has provided a floor to the price in past dips, except the 2018 crypto winter. The current cost is $38k, where the market has returned to (for the moment!) I'll be talking on this at Consensus on 25 May at 9:05pm EST
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Bitcoin investor whales sold in May, reducing balances by 111k bitcoin from 1 May to 18 May, but then they added 53k bitcoin on 19 and 20 May. This is unlikely to have moved the market, but shows they took advantage of the opportunity.
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Bitcoin inflows to exchanges remain high compared to the last 180 days, but not past sell-offs. Inflows by the end of the day on 19 May reached 271k bitcoin, but were only 65k bitcoin by 14:00 UTC today.
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I’ll be presenting at Consensus on a more prescient topic than I realised: ‘Should I Buy the Dip? The On-Chain Answer‘ on 25 May at 9:05pm EST And you can see the latest on-chain data at markets.chainalysis.com/
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