Bitcoin volatility makes comeback amid ETF-fueled rally

Quick Take

The race to launch a spot bitcoin ETF has not just lifted the asset's price, but also its volatility. 

Bitcoin volatility, which up until recently was stuck in a sleepy regime, has picked up again, hitting its highest level since mid-May, according to data tracked by The Block.

Annualized bitcoin volatility has been on a tear, hitting 51.8% on June 21. That's up from a recent bottom of about 31% on June 6, according to The Block's data dashboard.

Bitcoin was mostly flat in trading on Thursday, rising 0.4% to $30,024, according to CoinGecko

Bitcoin rally spikes volatility

Bitcoin's low volatility has been well documented, with the world's largest crypto seeing more stable prices than shares in tech giants like Amazon and Meta earlier this month.

But the recent rally that's brought bitcoin above $30,000 for the first time since April has also brought back volatility to a market that's been under pressure from low liquidity and low volumes. Bitcoin has gained 18% over the last seven days, according to CoinGecko.

That price momentum has been underpinned by a flurry of new bitcoin spot ETF filings kicked off by asset management giant BlackRock and soon followed by firms like WisdomTree and Invesco. 

'Stark turn around'

The Block Research's Rebecca Steven's described the shift as "a stark turn around from the start of the month when a lot of people were talking about how low it was."

Still, the volatility has not necessarily translated into stronger volumes on spot crypto exchanges. While, the seven day moving average for crypto trading volumes on exchanges has ticked upwards, it is still about one fourth the level it was at three months ago, according to The Block Research. 

That might indicate that most buying is happening off-exchange, according to one industry source who described recent action as "institutions coming in via [over-the-counter]" trading desks. 

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