Bitcoin rose to a 21-month high to start the week as investors awaited the potential approval of a U.S. bitcoin exchange-traded fund this week.
On Monday, the cryptocurrency rose more than 6% to $47,020.57, according to Coin Metrics, as BlackRock, Grayscale and other potential bitcoin ETF issuers submitted final updates to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including key fee disclosures that bolstered investors’ confidence that an approval is more likely than not. The last time it traded over $47,000 was April 2022.
“It’s a price war,” said Jim Angel, an associate professor specializing in financial market structure at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “Multiple vendors are coming out of the gate with a nearly identical commoditized product and the only way they can compete is on price.”
The SEC is approaching its first deadline to approve or reject one of the ETF applications — that of Ark 21Shares on Wednesday. It is widely expected the agency will approve several applications at once to even the playing field.
“Approval is inevitable,” former SEC chair Jay Clayton told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday when asked what could happen this week. “There’s nothing left to decide. … This is a big step not just for bitcoin, but for finance generally.”
That would be a landmark decision for the cryptocurrency industry, which has anti-establishment roots but has demonstrated the value of bitcoin and ether to much of the institutional investing world. Fidelity, Invesco, VanEck, WisdomTree and Franklin Templeton are among the firms vying to launch a bitcoin ETF along with BlackRock.
Bitcoin’s big move also coincided with a decline in bond yields. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note lost nearly 4 basis points Monday.
The optimism around bitcoin helped push ether higher by 4%. Several of the same firms vying for a bitcoin ETF have also filed applications to launch spot ether ETFs. The SEC’s deadline on those will come later in the year.
The move pushed crypto equities higher, too. Coinbase edged higher by nearly 2%. Miners enjoyed bigger gains. Iris Energy and Marathon Digital each were up more than 7%, while Riot Platforms rose 6% and CleanSpark advanced 5%.
Many investors say the day one effect of an approval has been overestimated, but that nevertheless, the event itself would create new pathways for inflows into bitcoin from institutions with a longer view.
Galaxy Digital, which has partnered with Invesco on its proposed bitcoin ETF, estimates the addressable market size of a U.S. bitcoin ETF to be roughly $14 trillion in the first year after a launch, and expanding to $26 trillion in the following year and $39 trillion in the third year.
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