Feb 14, 2024 - Economy

Bitcoin's market cap breaks $1T, taking overall crypto market to $2T

Illustration of a bull covered by a pile of pixelated coins.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Bitcoin is a trillion dollar asset once again. And the overall crypto market has broken $2 trillion in market capitalization.

Why it matters: If it were collectively a publicly traded company, cryptocurrency would be the fourth-largest in the world, between Saudi Aramco and NVIDIA.

  • On its own, Bitcoin would the eighth-largest, between Meta and Berkshire-Hathaway.

By the numbers: At the current circulating supply of 19,627,706 BTC, the original cryptocurrency hit $1 trillion in market cap when it broke $50,948.

  • At press time, BTC was trading at $51,936, according to CoinGecko, well over that figure.

Catch up fast: Much of the new energy seems to come down to the launch of bitcoin ETFs.

  • The SEC ran out of ways to keep bitcoin ETFs off the public market, so it reluctantly gave the green light to a set of offerings in January, while making clear its reservations.
  • Getting to that point was a saga.

What's happening? CoinShares circulated data Monday showing inflows to the new bitcoin ETFs are well ahead of outflows.

  • On net, $2.8 billion has flowed into these instruments since launch, with $1.1 billion coming in the last week.
  • Outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (which led the charge to approve these ETFs) have dropped massively, while pickup of the new offerings from familiar companies like BlackRock and Fidelity has been steady at over $1.5 billion each week.

Bitcoin ETFs are a way into crypto that "any capital allocator can participate in without fear of legal ramifications," Spice Capital founder Maya Bakhai told Axios.

  • Whereas institutional investors were risk-averse in 2023 as interest rates climbed, "crypto and AI are your best bets" to catch up on returns, Bakhai said.

Be smart: When customers buy spot bitcoin ETFs, issuers buy actual bitcoin off the open market to back those instruments, which restricts supply.

  • Plus, the daily issuance of new bitcoins will soon drop in half, further restricting supply. That should happen in late April.

What we're watching: Big guns in traditional markets, like BlackRock, Fidelity and Franklin Templeton, have been proposing a fresh round of ETFs for the world's second-largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum's native coin, ether (ETH).

The bottom line: Shortly after the FTX debacle, we said this market would come back, and now it has.

Go deeper