Despite bitcoin trading near all-time highs, more organizations are continuing to buy bitcoin, and are using over-the-counter (OTC) trading companies to keep their purchases from affecting the overall market.
Unlike retail investors or smaller organizations that use crypto exchanges, large organizations typically trade bitcoin through the OTC market, noted John Todaro, director of institutional research at cryptocurrency analytics firm TradeBlock. That way, their transactions will not move prices in the way they would if the investors had used even the largest central exchanges.
One reason that is true is that OTC transactions are also much more opaque compared to trades on exchanges. Without transparent data on OTC transactions, this side of the crypto market is difficult to track or measure.
However, three different metrics monitored by blockchain analytics firm CryptoQuant provide an idea of what’s happening in the OTC crypto market and could provide clues that more large organizations might come out to reveal their jobs bitcoin in the coming weeks and months.
When a massive bitcoin outflow occurs on Coinbase Pro, it tends to go to Coinbase’s own cold wallets for custody holding 6,000-8,000 BTC, according to Ki Young Jun, chief executive of CryptoQuant.
“We know it doesn’t go to hot wallets [because] we have their address labels, ”Ki added. “Withdrawal of exchange users can happen, but I’d say 99% of large single transactions over 5,000 bitcoin are either internal transfers or go to custody wallets.”
For example, a closer look at the spike in bitcoin outflows that occurred Dec. 12 shows that between 8,000 and 15,000 BTC have been moved out of Coinbase Pro to other cold wallets, an implication of OTC bargains, Ki said.
Coinbase Custody is integrated directly with Coinbase’s OTC desk, which means its clients can leverage the OTC desk without having to move money out of a cold store.
Read more: Coinbase Completes First OTC Crypto Trade Directly From ‘Cold’ Storage
MicroStrategy and British investment firm Ruffer have revealed that Coinbase has facilitated their purchases of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoin.
Read more: Ruffer Coinbase Investment Used To Achieve $ 745M Bitcoin Purchase
Another metric, the fund’s flow ratio for each exchange, has fallen since the market’s sell-off in March. This is the ratio of network transaction volume of exchanges compared to the total cryptocurrency transmitted on the network. A lower number means fewer transactions made on exchanges and are instead conducted outside exchanges such as over the counter.
Notably, the last time the fund flow ratio was at the current level (around 5%) was when large crypto exchanges launched their OTC desks in early 2019.
Read more: Bittrex Launches OTC Trading Desk With 200 Cryptocurrencies
The third metric, the total amount of bitcoin transferred on the blockchain, has continued to grow. This, combined with the lower fund flow ratio, shows that potential huge OTC deals from similar organizations are “ongoing,” said Ki.
“What we’re seeing is a whole class of investors who are new to the crypto market and want to establish jobs,” Matthew Hougan, chief investment officer at Bitwise Asset Management, told CoinDesk. “They don’t buy the dip as much as just buying, consistently and over time.”