Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), the lone “bitcoin investment trust” in the United States has lost about 80 percent of its total value in the last 10 months. A significant contributor to GBTC’s downward spiral is its excessive fees, which are currently around 2 percent more than double the national average.
The fees “are insane for these funds, and the current bitcoin price is creating more problems,” said Naeem Aslam, TF Global Markets London-based chief market while speaking to Bloomberg.
GBTC’s fall indicates that investors are moving to different avenues to buy cryptocurrencies. Hedge funds are increasingly popular among bitcoin investors and are now making more high-value crypto transactions than private individual investors.
“Despite the fact that volumes are lower, more firms are trading [bitcoin and cryptocurrencies],” said Mike Unetich, Trading Technologies’ vice president of cryptocurrencies.
Although bitcoin is growing in popularity among some financial firms, some experts believe that an overall lack of demand for the cryptocurrency is what’s putting a dampener on prices. According to a report from Market Watch, bitcoin’s failure to cross the $7,000 threshold last month has some experts fearing that investors have lost interest in the coin.
“Bitcoin is still struggling to break $6.8k resistance. If buyers wanted to buy this dip, they would have jumped in already. The chronic lack of demand at these levels is a concern, and the path of least resistance remains lower,” wrote Jani Ziedins, a cryptocurrency analyst.
On Wednesday, Bitcoin dropped below $6,500.
However, not all experts are wary of bitcoin’s stagnation. Some are subscribing to the “slow and steady” worldview and see the currency’s September performance as proof that the coin is relatively stable.
“From our point of view, there was nothing landmark that happened during the month; instead, the slow drumbeat of progress continued,” said Bitwise CEO Hunter Horsley and Matt Hougan in a statement.
Bitwise’s leadership may have a point; according to a report from Coin Desk, bitcoin’s price fluctuated less than $1500, making September the currency’s calmest month in over a year. Trading volume was also down to lows not seen since April 2017. Many believe these indicate that the coin will be making drastic moves—either positive or negative—in the future.
While bitcoin’s future is still hazy, some nations are betting big that cryptocurrencies can help offset domestic cash losses. Argentina, for example, is considering purchasing around 30 bitcoin ATMs which would make it more convenient for citizens to make bitcoin transactions. The country saw its first crypto ATM installed last month in Buenos Areas by Athena Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency ATM firm with a substantial presence in Colombia.
“Today, the cryptocurrency ATMs in the world are growing exponentially. In Argentina, there were no commercial ATMs, and the idea was to be the first to capture the market,” said Dante Galeazzi, Athena Bitcoin’s Argentina operations manager.
Argentinian officials are hoping that more citizens will begin to use bitcoin instead of the Argentinian peso, which has crashed and burned since the beginning of the year.
“With currency devaluations, we have seen a spike in bitcoin transactions. We see that as a safeguard to (the peso’s) value, as well as an opportunity to invest in the market,” added Galeazzi.