Friday 23 Feb 2024
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(Feb 12): Bitcoin climbed to the highest price since December 2021, aided by the record-breaking debut of US exchange-traded funds for the token.

The digital asset rose as much as 2.1% to US$49,130, surpassing the high for the year reached after the ETFs were approved in January. Bitcoin is also poised for a seventh straight daily gain that would mark the longest such streak since January 2023 if the advance holds, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Nine new spot Bitcoin funds began trading in the US on Jan 11 and have attracted more than US$9 billion of investor inflows so far. Two of the offerings, from BlackRock Inc and Fidelity Investments, rank as the most successful ETFs launched based on assets garnered after a month on the market, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart wrote in a note. 

There are indications of an “increasing movement of institutional money into the asset class,” Caroline Bowler, chief executive officer at crypto platform BTC Markets Pty, said on Bloomberg Television.

Shares of crypto-related companies also gained, with MicroStrategy rising 7.3%, Coinbase Global increasing 3.5% and Marathon Digital jumping 8.3%.

The more than decade-old Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, the largest portfolio dedicated to the token, converted into an ETF the same day the new funds went live. A more than US$6 billion outflow from the Grayscale vehicle has slowed. The batch of 10 ETFs have attracted a net US$2.8 billion overall.

 

Hype over the ETFs fuelled a Bitcoin revival last year, briefly taking the token past US$49,000 on the day they began trading. A multiday, US$10,000 selloff then ensued, as investors booked profits and waited to see how the ETFs fared. The subsequent rebound has brought US$50,000 into view, a level last seen in 2021.

Optimism about the quadrennial Bitcoin halving due in April is also filtering across crypto. Halving cuts the quantity of Bitcoin that miners receive for operating the powerful computers that verify transactions on the blockchain. The event is often viewed as a support for prices based on historical precedent.

Aside from ETF inflows, sentiment toward Bitcoin is “typically positive” during the Lunar New Year holidays that are currently underway in Asia, Fundstrat Global Advisors wrote in a note.

Bitcoin remains about US$20,000 below the record high the token hit in 2021, during a pandemic-era bull run oiled by easy money.

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