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First US Bitcoin ETF a ‘dud’ in 2021 as GBTC discount stays near record lows

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Institutional demand for Bitcoin (BTC) is noticeably absent at the end of the year, as data shows the “underperformance” of the first Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund in the United States (ETF).

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) is presently trading at over 30% below its launch price, as highlighted by markets pundit Holger Zschaepitz on December 29.

Anticlimax rounds out 2021 for ProShares ETF

The euphoria that greeted BITO’s introduction in Q3 has gone down significantly, indicating the current state of Bitcoin sentiment.

The ETF has even underperformed the beleaguered Bitcoin spot market in 2021, going from record-breaking activity on its debut day to its current level.

“At least for this year, the first Bitcoin futures ETF in the US was a flop,” Zschaepitz said.

ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) vs. BTC/USD normalized chart. Source: Holger Zschaepitz/ Twitter

Meanwhile, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) continues to trade at its biggest-ever discount to Bitcoin spot pricing. Or net asset value, as previously reported (NAV).

The conversion of GBTC to an ETF, which is expected to happen next year, is contingent on how regulators in the United States react to spot-based products, which have yet to be introduced.

GBTC price vs. holdings vs. GBTC premium chart. Source: Coinglass

Stocks are still at Eerie all-time highs

While critics call the GBTC discount “extremely alarming,” investor activity does not all point to Bitcoin disinterest.

Morgan Stanley increased its GBTC holdings this month and last, indicating that the longer-term outlook remains positive.

In the meanwhile, macro markets have certain peculiar characteristics. The S&P 500 is at all-time highs, defying a trendline that has served as topside resistance since it was established over a century ago.

Just 1.3 million Bitcoin left circulating on crypto exchanges

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