Bitcoin (BTC)’s massive gains this year have done little to bring crypto day traders back into the market, according to data provided by Bitstamp.
Since the start of the year, retail training volume on the exchange’s US platform has grown to 35% from 33%, while global retail volume has only risen from 8% to 9%.
Where are the Day Traders?
In conversation with Bloomberg, numerous pro traders claim to have lost interest in crypto despite once making tremendous profits in the space – particularly after the collapse of FTX in November 2022.
Peter To, for instance – a 34-year-old professional stock trader in New York – said he made $1 million trading Bitcoin during its bull runs in 2013 and 2017. However, the asset’s 110% rise since January hasn’t been enough to bring him back to the market.
“Bitcoin is not as volatile or as driven as it was,” To said. “For traders like me who are hunting for inefficiencies in the market, it’s not as interesting. The allure is kind of gone,” he said.
Craig Murray, a 23-year-old trader who claimed to make over $200,000 in crypto, said he narrowly escaped from FTX with his money after hearing rumors from industry friends about the exchange’s upcoming demise. The event convinced him that remaining in such a market was no longer worth the risk.
“That kind of put me over the edge,” Murray said. “I just decided it wasn’t worth it. Why would I have my money in this space when there’s a chance that one day it could just all go away?”
Signs of Declining Retail Traders
Besides decreased retail volume, declining weekend trading activity is another sign that traders have left the space. Fredrick Collins, chief executive and founder of crypto data platform Velo Data, said that weekends with half the trading volume are hardly uncommon nowadays, even though volume across the week used to be relatively equal.
The decline is also apparent in Coinbase’s latest earnings figures, showing a 12% drop in total transaction revenue between the second and third quarters of 2023. Coinbase attributed the decrease to low market volatility. Coinbase is the only publicly traded crypto exchange and one of the largest spot market trading venues.
Granted, crypto isn’t the only market affected: retail investment in equities also sank by 40% between the start of 2021 and the end of 2022, according to JP Morgan Chase and Co.
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