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Bitcoin ETFs See $488M Inflows Despite Waning Retail Interest

Despite $488M inflows into Bitcoin ETFs, retail interest remains low as indicated by Google Trends and YouTube viewership, suggesting institutions are leading the charge.

United States Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) experienced significant inflows amounting to $488.1 million on June 5, marking a bullish development in the market. However, this financial momentum is juxtaposed with a stark decline in retail interest, as reflected by Google Trends data which indicates a steep drop in Bitcoin-related searches compared to the highs of 2021.

Impressive Inflows Amid Low Search Volume

Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. recorded their second-best inflow day with $886.6 million on June 4, followed by $488.1 million on June 5. Leading the pack was Fidelity's Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC), which accounted for $220.6 million of the total inflows. BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) was the second-highest, bringing in $155.4 million, while the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) also saw a net inflow of $14.6 million despite experiencing net outflows exceeding $17.8 billion since January.

Despite these strong financial performances, Google Trends data reveals a significant drop in search interest. On June 5, searches for “Bitcoin” originating from the U.S. scored just 31 out of 100, while “Bitcoin ETF” barely registered with a score of 1. This is a stark contrast to the heightened interest seen during the 2021 bull run when retail participation was at its peak.

Spot Bitcoin ETF flows for June 5 highlighted in green. Source: Farside Investors

Retail Interest: A Comparative Decline

During the 2021 bull run, terms like "Bitcoin price" and "crypto" saw substantial search volumes. Today, they have dropped to scores of 18 and 13, respectively. This decline indicates that retail investors, who played a significant role in driving the 2021 market frenzy, have not yet returned in similar numbers. Interest had a brief spike on January 11 when the U.S. approved ten spot Bitcoin ETFs, and on March 5 when Bitcoin broke above $69,000 for the first time since 2021, but it has not sustained.

Crypto YouTube Viewership: Another Indicator

Further underscoring the lack of retail engagement, crypto analyst Miles Deutscher highlighted a substantial drop in viewership of crypto-related YouTube channels. In 2021, when Bitcoin reached its then-peak, daily viewership was around 4 million. As of 2024, despite Bitcoin hitting new highs, viewership has plummeted to approximately 800,000 views per day. Deutscher's analysis suggests that retail investors have not yet reentered the market in significant numbers, with YouTube views serving as a telling indicator of the current state of retail interest in crypto.

U.S.-originated search volumes for various Bitcoin and crypto-related Google searches since 2020. since Source: Google Trends

Market Sentiment and Future Outlook

The substantial inflows into Bitcoin ETFs, despite the low retail engagement, suggest that institutional interest remains robust. This institutional momentum, coupled with the relatively subdued retail participation, could mean that the market is still in an early phase of its next potential growth cycle. Analysts and investors alike will be closely watching for signs of increased retail participation, which could signal a broader market upswing.