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US cryptocurrency ETF inflows pick up as bitcoin price recovers

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows representations of cryptocurrency Bitcoin

By Suzanne McGee and Hannah Lang

(Reuters) - Inflows into the nine recently launched exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tied to bitcoin have resumed their upward trajectory this week after the cryptocurrency's price bounced back from its dip last week.

"The resumption in bitcoin's strong performance is sparking renewed interest in the ETFs," said Todd Rosenbluth, head of research at VettaFi, an analysis firm.

The nine funds that made their debut in January pulled in more than $1.2 billion in assets in the first three days of this week, according to data from BitMEX Research.

In the first two days of the week, the leadership shifted from BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust to the Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund. The latter attracted more than double the flows into BlackRock's fund, BitMEX data showed, before the iShares ETF regained the lead Wednesday with the strongest inflows it has recorded since mid-March.

The one fund that continues to buck this trend is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which existed as a publicly traded trust before it converted into an ETF on the same day the other nine ETFs launched. It has seen steady outflows since then, regardless of bitcoin's price movements. In the first three days of this week, those outflows reached $862.2 million.

"At the moment, the numbers are all skewed by Grayscale," said David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Group, an institutional cryptocurrency exchange.

However large these flows may be for the ETF market, they're "a rounding error" when compared to the total market capitalization of bitcoin itself, Mercer added.

Still, he noted, ETF flows seemed to be dictating bitcoin's price at present. "One thing's for sure: the bitcoin price couldn't rally when you saw outflows in the ETFs," Mercer said.

(Reporting by Suzanne McGee; Editing by Jamie Freed and Nick Zieminski)