Bitcoin outflows from centralized cryptocurrency exchanges rose to a historic high this week, as investors increasingly turned to self-custody options following the collapse of now-bankrupt FTX, which had been the world’s second-largest crypto exchange just a week ago.
In the past seven days, exchanges saw a netflow of -7,680 Bitcoins, according to data from IntoTheBlock, suggesting that more investors are taking their Bitcoins off exchanges. Netflow is the difference between tokens entering and exiting cryptocurrency exchanges.
Bitcoin exchange outflows rose to 742,401 between Nov. 9 and Nov. 15, according to on-chain data provider CryptoQuant. The week’s biggest outflows occurred on Nov. 9, when 168,287 Bitcoins were withdrawn from exchanges.
While higher exchange outflows are typically a sign of long-term holders putting Bitcoin into cold storage, the current increase is likely a loss of trust in centralized cryptocurrency exchanges following the FTX fiasco.
According to on-chain market intelligence company Glassnode, “Bitcoin investors have been withdrawing coins to self-custody at a historic rate of 106,000 BTC/month.” Glassnode noted that this was comparable to just three other periods: April 2020, November 2020, and June-July 2022.
Glassnode data also showed stablecoins moving into exchanges, while assets like BTC and ETH are departing. This has boosted stablecoin buying power on exchanges, to around US$4 billion per month.
Glassnode concluded that FTX’s collapse will likely “reshape the industry” and “shift the dominance, and preference for trustless vs centrally issued assets.”
The developments come after FTX’s collapse left crypto investors worried over a potential contagion. FTX’s troubles started last week with the company reportedly facing liquidity issues. This prompted a cascade of user withdrawals, which could not be honored by the exchange. FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. on Friday, while Sam-Bankman Fried resigned as CEO.
Crypto industry leaders have started advocating for self-custody as the FTX saga worsened. On Sunday, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted that “self-custody is a fundamental human right,” warning users to make sure they do it right as “mistakes here can be very costly.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Binance received permission from Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority to provide custody to professional clients in and from the Abu Dhabi Global Market, a sign of the exchange’s pivot towards self-custody services.
Bitcoin shed 11.1% of its value within the past week, trading at US$16,511 at 10.00 p.m. in Hong Kong on Wednesday, according to CoinGecko data.