Bitcoin reached its highest price since May 2022, hitting $35,000 on Tuesday. The surge in price came as investors anticipated the approval of a spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) for the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has experienced a remarkable rally this year, with a 107% increase in value year-to-date. The approval of a spot ETF would be a significant victory for proponents of cryptocurrency, as it would allow investors to gain exposure to the industry without directly owning bitcoin.
Optimism surrounding the potential approval of a spot ETF has been growing in recent weeks. Major financial institutions such as BlackRock, Fidelity, and VanEck have filed applications with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell spot bitcoin ETFs. Additionally, Grayscale Investments recently won a legal battle against the SEC, further fueling excitement in the market.
While the SEC has already approved bitcoin futures ETFs, a spot ETF would enable the creation of a tradable asset tied to the current price of bitcoin. This would open up the industry to a broader range of investors. Billionaire crypto enthusiast Mike Novogratz has expressed confidence in the approval of a spot ETF this year.
Preparations for a spot ETF have been observed, as an "iShares Bitcoin Trust" has been listed on the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation website. However, it is important to note that this does not mean the ETF is actively trading. There are currently over 10 spot bitcoin ETF applications under review by the SEC.
The SEC has expressed caution towards a spot bitcoin ETF due to concerns about the speculative and volatile nature of the token. Fraud and manipulation in the crypto market are also significant worries for regulators. However, following the August court ruling in favor of Grayscale, the SEC has chosen not to appeal the decision.
Analysts have speculated that the approval of a spot ETF could potentially drive the price of bitcoin to $180,000 before the cryptocurrency's scheduled halving in April 2024. This demonstrates the significant impact that regulatory approval could have on the cryptocurrency market.