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The chills of crypto winter have nipped at investors, companies, and coins for much of the past year. But, in light of Bitcoin’s recent surge past $37,000, some think that frigid market conditions may be finally easing up.
On Wall Street, bull markets occur when a major stock market index like the S&P 500 or Nasdaq Composite rallies for a sustained period of time. As a technical rule of thumb, bull markets are defined by a 20% increase in an asset from its low.
Coined by an industry that’s still in its nascency, crypto winter is less of a technical term and more of a vibe, which likely draws inspiration from the cautionary motto of House Stark in the HBO series “Game of Thrones,”: Winter is coming.
Being a new asset class comes with volatility, which is why Wall Street’s lens may not work for crypto. Questions over whether the freeze has thawed persist, despite a 77% increase in the total crypto market cap from $823 billion last December to $1.4 trillion on Friday, according to CoinGecko.
Considering crypto’s recent pop and inflows of over $1 billion toward crypto investment products so far this year, CoinShares Head of Research James Butterfill told Decrypt, “We've got hard numbers from flows and price that suggest we’re out of that winter.”
However, Butterfill and other professionals in the industry say they see anecdotal evidence a prolonged bear market is giving way as well. Butterfill said interest from CoinShares’ clients is rivaling 2021, but Steven Lubka, head of private client services for Bitcoin financial services Swan, told Decrypt there’s more interest now than he’s ever seen.
“We've never been this busy,” Lubka said. “There's a long stream of people that are going to be allocating capital and moving money over in the next couple of months.”
Notably, Lubka has seen shifts in Swan’s prospective clientele. Describing it as a “level up from the professional class,” Lubka said Swan has fielded talks with former CEOs, financial professionals, and entrepreneurs recently about attaining Bitcoin exposure.
“Doctor, lawyer, accountant—those guys are still here,” Lubka said. “This year, it's like, ‘I'm a former CEO. I've owned this whole company.”
Overall, a recent influx of interest has come from people who are older, later in their careers, and deeply financially literate, Lubka said. Some have cited Bitcoin’s recent climb and a spot Bitcoin ETF’s potential as reasons “to get in position,” he added.
While crypto markets have swelled in anticipation of a spot Bitcoin ETF, which would allow financial institutions to more easily allocate capital to the coin, some analysts, like Amberdata's Director of Derivatives Greg Magadini, told Decrypt it’s still too early.
Crypto winter won’t be over for certain until spot Bitcoin and Ethereum funds get approved in the U.S., he said, describing it as a critical development for resources to enter the space.
“That’s the floodgate for large portfolios to allocate 50 basis points of their holdings to Bitcoin,” for example, he said. “To me, that would be the catalyst to essentially open up [...] the end of crypto winter.”
Edited by Stacy Elliott.