Why Bitcoin And Crypto Are ‘On Verge Of Cannibalism’: Ikigai CIO

Travis Kling, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Ikigai Asset Management, shared his insights on the current state of Bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem, which he described as following: “Bitcoin is ~10% off of ATHs and the timeline appears to be on the verge of cannibalism.” In a series of detailed posts on X, Kling dissected the complex interplay of macroeconomic factors, ETF flows, and internal market dynamics that are shaping the cryptocurrency markets.

Why Is Bitcoin Trading Flat?

Kling began his analysis by addressing Bitcoin’s performance relative to the broader macroeconomic environment. Despite the NASDAQ surging 16% since April 19, following a low induced by market trepidations about rate cuts, Bitcoin has notably underperformed, remaining relatively flat. Kling pointed out, “BTC is trading pretty crappy relative to macro.” This underperformance is particularly striking given that during this period, the US equity markets have repeatedly set new all-time highs, while Bitcoin has stagnated.

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A significant part of Kling’s analysis focused on the dynamics of US spot Bitcoin ETFs. Starting May 13, the market witnessed 19 consecutive days of robust ETF inflows, totaling approximately $4 billion. Surprisingly, these substantial inflows only resulted in a 17% increase in Bitcoin’s price, which Kling argues is underwhelming. He noted, “It’s true BTC was +17% over this period, but why not more? Why not meaningfully higher highs?”

This question points to underlying issues in market structure or investor sentiment that might be damping the expected bullish response to inflow surges. Moreover, recent ETF outflows have coincided with a 7% drop in Bitcoin’s price over a similar period, further complicating the narrative around ETF impacts.

Kling suggests that while ETF inflows and outflows are significant, they might not fully capture the underlying market dynamics, indicating a complex interplay of arbitrage opportunities and market sentiment. “I think one thing we can say with confidence is that the ETFs have a lot of arb flow in them. Just look at the 13Fs. There’s NAV arb and then that gets laid off into futures and spot and then there’s the same basis trade that’s always been present in this market,” Kling wrote.

He also speculated about external factors affecting Bitcoin’s price, such as potential government sales of Bitcoin confiscated during the Silk Road operation. Although he admits lacking concrete proof, Kling aligns his hypothesis with the timing of certain market movements and known government actions. Additionally, he highlighted the influence of Ethereum on Bitcoin’s market dynamics, particularly during a week of significant activity around an Ethereum ETF, which saw the largest weekly ETH to BTC volume on record since a previous peak.

What To Expect From Ether And Altcoins?

Despite Ethereum’s influence on Bitcoin, ETH itself faces challenges. The anticipation surrounding spot Ethereum ETFs has not translated into sustained positive price action. Ethereum remains 30% below its all-time high, with upcoming ETFs potentially being a critical factor. Kling posits, “If [Ethereum ETF inflows] are strong, ETH likely rips hard. If they’re weak, ETH may sell off.” The uncertainty about the strength of these inflows and their market impact reflects broader market anxieties.

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The broader altcoin market is also suffering, with many tokens significantly off their highs and struggling to find a footing. Kling’s remarks about the altcoin sector are particularly stark: “The airdrop meta has been dying a slow death for months. Alts are overwhelmed with token unlocks from holders that are up many multiples and will hammer a nonexistent bid.” This scenario illustrates the difficulties facing smaller altcoins as they navigate a market dominated by major players like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

In conclusion, Kling’s comprehensive analysis suggests a cryptocurrency market at a critical juncture, facing internal competition and macroeconomic mismatches that could define its trajectory in the coming months.

“So overall that’s what has the timeline acting like prices are 75% lower than they are right now. BTC is probably heading higher this year. ETH is probably somewhere between fine and gangbusters this year, based on ETH ETF inflows. But the gap between BTC/ETH and everything else is wide and likely going to get wider this year. If crypto can muster up even a modicum of a legit narrative that can drive real inflows into Alts, it can all change in a hurry. But the current slate of ‘narratives’ is unlikely to get that done,” Kling concluded.

At press time, BTC traded at $65,138.

Bitcoin price
BTC price in danger of breakdown, 1-day chart | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Featured image from YouTube / What Bitcoin Did, chart from TradingView.com

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