JPMorgan ‘struggles to find the next catalyst for’ Bitcoin and crypto market

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JPMorgan ‘struggles to find the next catalyst for’ Bitcoin and crypto market

JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) maintains a cautious stance on cryptocurrency markets in the short term due to a lack of immediate catalysts for bullish market movements, citing subdued ETF inflows and regulatory challenges. 

In a detailed market update, the Wall Street giant pinpointed headwinds that are currently impacting the cryptocurrency market. The analysis focused on the performance of Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs, the implications of Bitcoin's fourth halving, and broader regulatory developments.

"Perhaps these April showers and its poorer month for the cryptoecosystem will bring May flowers and fresher crypto gains and increased activity, but the first few days of May are not tracking notably better than April and we struggle to find the next catalyst for the cryptoecosystem," it is said in a report.

Despite the recent downturn in April, JPMorgan sees mixed signs with potential upsides as investors are piling back into the market after a brief pause. The report details a $218 million in net sales from U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs on their 80th day of trading, with Fidelity’s FBTC and ARK/21Shares’ ARKB leading the flows. 

Conversely, GBTC continued to see net redemptions, summing over -$17.4 billion since its conversion. JPMorgan notes this continued outflow despite GBTC recording a rare day of positive inflows earlier in the week.

April proved challenging for the crypto markets as total market capitalization declined by 17%, erasing gains from a strong first quarter. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum saw price declines of 15-20%, with altcoins experiencing even steeper drops. Despite this, stablecoins showed resilience with a slight increase in market cap.

JPMorgan's report also highlights the effects of Bitcoin’s fourth halving, which took place on April 19, reducing daily Bitcoin creation from 900 to 450. Historically, BTC halvings are seen as positive price catalysts due to the perceived increase in scarcity. However, the immediate impact was muted, with Bitcoin prices slightly declining post-halving.

In terms of regulatory developments, the report mentions Hong Kong's approval of spot Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs, contrasting with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) hesitancy on similar applications. Still, JPMorgan remains cautious, as disappointing flows and volumes marked Hong Kong's ETF debut.

JPMorgan's recent report also paints a contrasting picture between Bitcoin and gold for April. Bitcoin saw a 15% dip, while gold climbed 4% to hit new all-time highs. Interestingly, both assets saw their volatility decrease by roughly 12% last month.

Ethereum didn't fare well either, lagging behind Bitcoin for the second straight month with an 18% drop. Its market cap shrank to $368 billion in April, although it's still up 34% for the year. The drop in Ethereum was accompanied by a 30% drop in its average daily trading volume.

Meanwhile, the prospects for Ethereum in the U.S. are looking bleak, especially regarding regulatory approval for spot ETH ETFs. After a few positive discussions with the SEC, insiders are bracing for a likely rejection of the pending ETF applications on May 23. 

While there has been some improvement in DeFi activity, the bank notes that “the market cap and total value locked also decreased in April."

"Stablecoins, however, were a bright spot for the cryptoecosystem as the largest stablecoins saw their market caps rise low-single-digits MoM,“ the bank added.

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