Bitwise CIO Bullish on Bitcoin ETFs Following 13F Filings

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Bitwise Chief Investment Officer Matt Hougan is incredibly bullish on spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) following the 13-F filings from various financial institutions based in the United States. 

Recent data reveals a significant increase in institutional investments in Bitcoin ETFs, marking a pivotal moment for the cryptocurrency market. The Bitwise CIO initially predicted that 700 professional firms would invest nearly $5 billion in Bitcoin ETFs. 

ETFs Surpass Bitwise CIO’s Expectations

This projection was not only accurate but exceeded, as K33 Research’s latest report shows more than 900 firms have disclosed their Bitcoin ETF holdings.

According to Hougan, 563 professional investment firms reported owning a combined $3.5 billion worth of Bitcoin ETFs. K33 Research data, shared by Senior Analyst Ventle Lunde on May 16, confirms that 937 professional firms were invested in U.S. spot ETFs as of March 31. For comparison, gold ETFs saw only 95 professional firms investing in their first quarter.

Bloomberg Analyst Weighs In

Bloomberg Senior ETF Analyst Eric Balchunas noted that the largest ETFs have attracted the most institutional capital, with BlackRock’s IBIT having over 400 holders. Hougan emphasized the significance of this trend, stating

“This is absolutely massive. For any financial advisor, family office, or institution wondering if they were the only one considering Bitcoin exposure, the answer is clear: You are not alone.”

Bitwise CIO Highlights AUM

Despite the influx of institutional money, the Bitwise CIO pointed out that professional investors own just 7–10% of the total Bitcoin ETF assets under management (AUM), while K33 Research data suggests this share is 18%. 

Lunde’s analysis revealed that retail investors still own the majority of the float, with professional investors holding $11.06 billion by the end of Q1, representing 18.7% of the Bitcoin ETF AUM.

Bitcoin ETFs are ‘Retail-Driven’

Hougan argued that the portrayal of Bitcoin ETFs as “retail-driven” might overlook an emerging trend, leaving him “incredibly bullish” based on the initial 13F filings. He described a typical four-step investment trajectory for institutions, starting with 6–12 months of due diligence. 

The second step involves making a small personal allocation, followed by exposing investors to the market, and eventually leading to substantial platform-wide allocations across the entire client book, typically ranging from 1-5% of the portfolio about six months after the initial allocation.

Using Hightower Advisors as an example, the Bitwise executive explained that its current Bitcoin ETF allocation is just 0.05% of its assets. If they follow the typical investment process, a 1% allocation would equate to $1.2 billion from a single firm. Hougan concluded, “Multiply that by the growing number of professional investors participating in the space, and you can begin to see what’s behind my enthusiasm.”

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