Mid-May’s price plunge was one of crypto’s wildest pullbacks in recent years, a tumble that eliminated nearly $1 trillion from crypto’s market value.
The industry had soared to new heights a month earlier, with Bitcoin (BTC) reaching almost $64,000, driven in good part by institutional investors. Now that some calm has returned to the market, bears are asking: How did institutions behave during the recent collapse? Did they jump ship or hold firm with their investments? And what impact might the pullback have in future institutional participation in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry?
“Institutional investors mostly held firm,” Oanda senior market analyst Edward Moya told Cointelegraph, “and after the dust settled, [investors] still seemed confident with their longer-term bets.” Also, Chainalysis chief economist Philip Gradwell wrote in a May 19 market analysis, “It also does not appear that institutions are significant sellers, although they may be more cautious as buyers right now.”
On the other hand, analysts from JPMorgan told their clients that institutional investors abandoned Bitcoin for gold during the swoon. And then there was Elon Musk, whose May 12 tweet said that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin in exchange for its automobiles — citing concerns about BTC’s energy consumption — was blamed by many for accelerating Bitcoin’s market descent. It was already declining but fell another 40% after his tweet and has since had trouble recovering to reclaim $40,000.
Economist Gradwell sought to put things in some historical context, noting that Bitcoin inflows to exchanges were relatively low compared with past sell-offs. This suggested “that much of the selling is from people with assets already on exchanges, which tend to be retail investors.”
Many crypto veterans appeared to agree that the volatility was propelled by retail investors — not institutions. Anyblock Analytics GmbH’s co-founder and chief data officer…