Binance Research: most large Bitcoin and Ethereum investors hold stablecoins, use cold wallets
The research arm of Binance, the worldâ€™s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, has published a report that analyzes the results of a survey completed by institutional digital asset investors. According to the report,Â BinanceÂ surveyed over 100 institutional and VIP clients.
Survey results cannot be generalized due to the small sample size
The Binance team mentioned that the survey results should be interpreted with â€œextreme cautionâ€� and must not be generalized, because of the relatively small sample size of only 41 institutional and VIP clients.
As stated in Binanceâ€™s report, over 50 percent of the exchangeâ€™s VIP clients hold positions for at least a week. Meanwhile, a third of Binanceâ€™s institutional traders take part in high-frequency trading and various other market-making strategies.
Notably, Binanceâ€™s survey results indicate that clients with a bigger portfolio tend to trade across several different exchanges, whereas clients with less capital may trade on a single or a select few platforms.
High-frequency traders increasingly engage in cross-platform arbitrage strategies
High-frequency traders, who may hold positions for less than a day, tend to trade on several different exchanges in order to engage in cross-platform arbitrage strategies. This approach allows traders to take advantage of price differentials across multiple platforms, Binanceâ€™s report noted.
Binanceâ€™s management pointed out that around 90 percent of its clients use USD as the benchmark currency. This, as USD-backed stablecoins and USD-denominated trading platforms dominate the cryptoasset industry, Binanceâ€™s report confirmed.
Nearly all institutional clients use stablecoins
The Binance team revealed that almost all survey respondents said they use stablecoins for trading purposes or as a store-of-value (SoV). While USDT remains the dominant stablecoin, PAX and USDC are also used frequently to engage in trading or to hold value, the report mentioned.
Approximately 20 percent of Binanceâ€™s institutional clients that responded to the survey said they use the crypto-backed Dai stablecoin.
Majority of clients use OTC desks
As noted in Binanceâ€™s report, 87 percent of survey participants stated that they use over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks such as Huobi OTC, Galaxy Digital, and Binance Trading Desk.
According to Binanceâ€™s survey results, most clients have experience working in the financial sector, as only 7 percent of respondents said they had no prior exposure to financial markets before they began trading cryptoassets.
Most clients have been trading crypto for over a year
The majority of Binanceâ€™s institutional and VIP clients revealed they had been trading digital assets for at least a year. In fact, only 7 percent of Binanceâ€™s survey participants said they had been involved in crypto trading for less than a year.
Approximately 50 percent of Binanceâ€™s institutional clients had traded in traditional equity markets and around 25 percent said they engage in foreign currency trading.
Notably, 67.5 percent of survey respondents engage in leveraged trading through futures contracts or margin borrowing, Binanceâ€™s report noted.
Large investors keep funds mainly in cold storage
Clients with cryptoasset portfolios worth at least $25 million keep most of their holdings in cold storage wallets or use trusted third-party custodial solutions, according to Binanceâ€™s survey results.
The report concluded that a certain amount of user funds must be held on centralized exchanges in order to engage in efficient market-making and prop-trading strategies. However, this may change if decentralized exchanges such as Binance DEX begin to attract more users and experience greater trading volumes.
DEXs not used frequently due to low liquidity
According to survey respondents, traders do not frequently trade on decentralized exchanges due to regulatory uncertainty. Binanceâ€™s institutional clients also mentioned that DEXs usually lack sufficient liquidity, and have a poor or non-intuitive user experience.
Non-custodial crypto platforms not yet popular among large traders
One-third of Binanceâ€™s clients that participated in the survey said they use custodial lending and borrowing services such as BlockFi or Nexo. As stated in Binanceâ€™s report, the majority of traders that use crypto lending and borrowing platforms have a long-term investment strategy.
Other survey results suggested that non-custodial digital asset borrowing/lending service providers are not yet widely used by institutional clients. This, as only 12 percent of those surveyed by Binanceâ€™s research division reported using these platforms.
Major risk factors: technology failures, hacks
Binance also asked its institutional and VIP clients to identify potential risks and growth factors for the digital asset industry. The majority of traders cited concerns about technology failures and security breaches. Survey respondents also noted that changes in regulations across different jurisdictions may pose a significant level of risk to the cryptoasset industry.
Other risk factors, according to survey respondents, included Tetherâ€™s legal problems and privacy issues related to cryptocurrency transactions.
ETFs could accelerate crypto ecosystem growth
Crypto industry growth drivers identified by Binanceâ€™s institutional traders include the potential introduction of Bitcoin ETFs, established brokers such as Fidelity offering crypto-related services, and the development of options contracts.
Binanceâ€™s survey respondents also believe that the launch of stablecoins by Facebook and J.P. Morgan may be seen as a positive development for the crypto space. Physically-settled crypto futures contracts offered by companies such as Bakkt and LedgerX may help accelerate the growth of the blockchain and digital asset sector, survey participants suggested.
Some respondents also said that Samsungâ€™s crypto-related services such as a built-in smartphone wallet could potentially increase digital currency adoption.
Crypto infrastructure development highly undervalued
According to Binanceâ€™s institutional survey respondents, blockchain infrastructure development by projects such as ICON, Nebulas, and Zilliqa, is among the most undervalued segments in the crypto space. Store-of-value, payments, and settlements provided by Bitcoin, Monero, and XRP were also identified as undervalued by Binanceâ€™s clients.
Only 15 percent of respondents said the decentralized applications (dApps) ecosystem may be undervalued at present.
Many large investors donâ€™t use Binance, results may not be accurate
When asked to predict Bitcoin dominance, which currently stands at around 60%, most survey participants said BTCâ€™s crypto market share would remain roughly the same or go down slightly by December 2019.
While these survey results may be interesting, Binanceâ€™s management pointed out that there are still many large crypto industry participants that do not use the exchangeâ€™s services. This may suggest that the surveyâ€™s findings may not accurately represent the point of view and current trading patterns of large institutional players in the digital asset market.
The full report (PDF) can be downloaded here.
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