Institutional Investors Favor Ethereum While Retail Stays Loyal to Bitcoin, Reports Bybit

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A new report released by leading crypto exchange Bybit has revealed intriguing insights into how institutional and retail crypto investors are positioning themselves in anticipation of continuing bull market conditions

. Analyzing extensive proprietary trading data from its platform spanning Q4 2022 through January 2024, Bybit discovered significant divergences in asset allocation preferences between the two demographics.

TLDR

ETH now accounts for 40% of institutional crypto allocations, possibly driven by upcoming Ethereum network upgrade
Retail allocations remain more heavily BTC weighted, with 20% in BTC and 10% in ETH
Retail investors holding 36% in stablecoins, institutions only 10%
Both institutions and retail reducing altcoin exposures, despite recent returns
Institutions exiting volatile assets like meme, AI and BRC-20 tokens

Most strikingly, the report found that institutional exposure to Ethereum (ETH) rapidly increased over the time period studied, accelerating further after the SEC approved a Bitcoin spot ETF in January 2024.

Binance

By the end of last month, institutions on average held roughly 40% of their crypto portfolios in ETH, almost double their allocation in September 2022.

This surge into the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was funded primarily by stablecoin conversions, which declined from 20% last fall to only 10% in January 2024.

Navigating Bull and Bear Markets — A Dive Into Asset Allocation

Industry experts theorize institutional ETH enthusiasm is being driven by the upcoming Shanghai upgrade to the Ethereum network later this year, which promises substantial scalability, security and sustainability improvements that could further cement Ethereum’s position as the preeminent smart contract blockchain.

In contrast to institutions, retail crypto investors have maintained a strong Bitcoin weighting during the same period. The report found average retail allocations sitting at 20% BTC and 10% ETH at the end of January.

Notably, Bybit also discovered retail portfolios hold over one third in stablecoins on average, evidence that smaller investors remain cautious towards downside risks.

Beyond the major protocol coins, both demographics decisively pulled back on altcoin positions over the past quarter despite many smaller cap assets posting triple digit returns in 2022.

Even layer 2 Ethereum projects lost significant favor, with institutions cutting exposure over 70% by January 2024.

The sectors witnessing the most aggressive institutional selling were high volatility niches like meme-coins, AI cryptos and BSC-based offerings.

Summarizing the report’s findings, Bybit VP Eugene Chung said

“Institutions have set their course for the coming months, and their strategies can be a beacon for smart traders, showing what may happen next. Such knowledge proves invaluable, especially for those new to crypto, illuminating the shifting tides of asset allocation.”

With crypto markets appearing to regain bullish momentum as 2024 gets underway, keeping a close eye on how major player groups rotate exposures can uncover valuable predictive signals.

As blockchain projects launch long-anticipated network upgrades like Ethereum’s Shanghai fork over the next year, institutional flows in particular may telegraph which protocols are primed to break out as they garner increased developmental confidence.

If current trends persist, 2024 could soon be dubbed the “Year of ETH 2.0″ instead of Bitcoin in the institutional crypto investment community.



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