Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson said in an interview this week that she’s “feeling good” about U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs, with her company’s fund aiming to capture more market share from an expected future spike in demand to hit the products.

“You haven’t even gotten that second wave,” said Johnson in an interview with CNBC published on Tuesday. “This is really the first wave of the early adopters, and I think the next wave is the bigger institutions who get more comfortable with how it settled out.”

Spot Bitcoin ETFs hauled over $13 billion in net inflows within less than three months after their launch on January 11, and have taken in $14.8 billion to date. This helped drive Bitcoin’s price up over 60% year-to-date to a new peak price of $73,700 in March, with BlackRock’s fund shattering all records for a newly launched ETF.

Both ETF inflows and price action stagnated through April and May, leading to some speculation that demand had already peaked.


However, a slew of SEC disclosures in April showed that large investors and firms—while having made many high-profile Bitcoin purchases—still only comprised about 20% of the new Bitcoin ETFs’ assets under management. In other words, most of their initial demand came from retail investors, while major institutions were still only dipping their toes in.

According to Johnson, many professional money managers are still working out how to incorporate Bitcoin into their portfolio strategies.

“Right now, Bitcoin’s a bit of a risk-on, risk-off,” she said. “It’s a little bit like gold so some of them think about it that way, some of them think about it from a tech standpoint.”


Franklin Templeton currently runs one of the smallest Bitcoin spot ETFs in the country by AUM, holding just 6,148 BTC in its fund as of Tuesday—about $440 million worth. Its permanent sponsor fee is also the smallest of any fund at just 0.19%, with its upcoming Ethereum ETF poised to match.

“We’re hoping that people will be fee-sensitive and that we’ll capture more market share,” she said of the firm’s Bitcoin offering.

Executives at Bitwise—an asset manager behind a much larger U.S. spot Bitcoin ETF—believe that Bitcoin ETFs are due for a much larger wave of demand from institutions as current investors scale up their position sizes, and prospective investors finish assessing the products for due diligence.

Political tailwinds for crypto on Capitol Hill could be another major catalyst for adoption. “If people understood the ramifications of the shift in D.C., the crypto market would be at new all-time highs,” wrote Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan in a blog post on Tuesday.

Bitcoin ETFs made a definitive comeback on Tuesday with over $886 million of inflows—their second-best day yet.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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