Bitcoin extends climb above $60,000 threshold on imminent ETF approval

Bitcoin seen on display
Bitcoin seen on display. Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Bitcoin is extending its ascent to test a new price record ahead of a futures ETF launch this week.
  • The world’s largest digital asset by market cap rose as much as 5.5% on Monday to trade at $US62,667 ($AU84,486) based on Bloomberg data.
  • A bitcoin-linked ETF would make it easier for investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency.
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Bitcoin is extending its recent ascent to test a new price record as crypto “hodlers” cheer a futures exchange-traded fund that will start trading this week.

The world’s largest digital asset by market capitalization rose as much as 5.5% on Monday to trade at $US62,667 ($AU84,486), according to Bloomberg data. Bitcoin pared gains to $US61,094 ($AU82,365) as of 8:20 a.m. ET. The price slipped over the weekend to around $US59,000 ($AU79,542) after scaling the $US60,000 ($AU80,890)-level on Friday.

In April, bitcoin peaked at its all-time high of $US64,869 ($AU87,455) amid exuberance ahead of the direct listing of Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, in what many viewed as a milestone for the digital asset ecosystem.

This time around, another milestone may just yet push bitcoin’s price to its new record high.

“Today’s spike appears to have been triggered by investors’ growing confidence that US regulators will approve the launch of an ETF based on bitcoin futures contracts,” Simon Peters, cryptoasset analyst at eToro, said in a note.

He continued: “But a rise past $US60,000 ($AU80,890) has been looking likely for a while now after weeks of positive net inflows into bitcoin from institutional investors, a growing migration of bitcoin from short-term holders to long-term holders, and the attendant squeeze on bitcoin supply.”

The fund in question is the ProShares ETF, which will track bitcoin futures rather than bitcoin itself. On Monday, ProShares said its ETF will start trading Tuesday, after an almost decade-long attempt by the $US6.7 ($AU9) trillion ETF industry to try to get one approved.

The US Securities and Exchange ecosystem has long been reluctant to approve a bitcoin ETF, but Chair Gary Gensler earlier this year has signaled that is more open to a futures-based one.

Futures are contracts to buy and sell an asset at a predetermined price and time. They track movements in the price of bitcoin pretty closely but mean investors do not have to physically own the token, which has long been criticized for its price volatility.

The price of bitcoin has rallied 109% year-to-date despite headwinds such as China’s multiple clampdowns from banning bitcoin miners from operating in a southwest region in June and labeling all cryptocurrency transactions as illegal in September.

In step with bitcoin’s rally is ether, the second-largest digital asset, which has risen a whopping 404% year-to-date. It is now trading around $US3,743 ($AU5,046).

The rise of the two cryptocurrencies has pushed the entire market capitalization above $US2.6 ($AU4) trillion for the first time since May.

And as Nicholas Cawley, analyst at DailyFX, there is much to look forward to for the entire industry.

“When these futures-based ETFs are given the green light, the market will soon turn their attention to both Ethereum ETFs and, more importantly, cash-based Bitcoin ETFs. If the latter gets approval, there will likely be repeated fresh Bitcoin highs over the coming months,” he said in a note.