The number of ether (ETH) on exchanges has hit a low not seen since July 2016 as staking saps up available ether.
Data from Glassnode shows that as of Thursday, 14.85% of all ether was held in wallets owned by centralized exchanges. The market hasn’t seen a level this low since ether was in its infancy during the summer of 2016.
In contrast, during the bull market of 2021, the exchange balance was around 25-26%. Typically low exchange balances are a bullish sign as it means the supply of ether available for purchase is limited, thus, it puts pressure on prices to increase.
In the last few weeks, staking's growing popularity has helped soak up supply from the market.
The introduction of the Shapella upgrade to the Ethereum network has triggered a surge in ether staking, with over 4.4 million additional coins deposited since the upgrade, as large ether holders increasingly opt for generating passive income rather than liquidating their assets.
"This trend is anticipated to persist, particularly considering that deflationary forces are expected to propel the price of Ether significantly," analysts at Binfinex previously shared with CoinDesk. "Prior to this upgrade, potential stakeholders may have been deterred from staking their ether tokens due to concerns about their funds being locked for an unacceptably long duration."
All this comes as crypto trading volumes decline by double digits.
Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, experienced a 48% decrease in spot trading volume for the second consecutive month in April, reaching $287 billion - the second-lowest since 2021 - with its market share also reducing to 46%, reflecting a broader 40% industry-wide decline due to macroeconomic uncertainties and U.S. bank collapses.
Ether is currently trading for $1,816, up 2%, according to CoinDesk market data.