Crypto market swells by billions after ‘historic’ bitcoin moment

Crypto market swells by billions after ‘historic’ bitcoin moment

The crypto market hit a 21-month high on Thursday following a landmark decision by US regulators to open up bitcoin to institutional investors.

The long-awaited decision from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve the first ever spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for bitcoin, in what analysts have described as a “historic” moment for the industry.

Anticipation surrounding the announcement had seen bitcoin rise in price by more than 10 per cent since the start of 2024, while other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA) and Dogecoin (DOGE) also experienced significant gains.

The combined market cap of all cryptocurrencies rose by $60 billion following the news, according to CoinMarketCap, reaching above $1.76 trillion for the first time since April 2022.

“Given the crypto market’s euphoria amid the eagerly anticipate approval of a spot bitcoin ETF, the SEC’s decision will help improve diversification for ETF investors, especially those looking for an alternative source of return,” Yves Longchamp, managing director and head of research at the crypto-focussed Amina Bank.

“This will mean well see an active bitcoin trading environment that will likely be price positive for crypto and digital assets more broadly.”

The SEC’s decision to approve 11 applications for bitcoin ETFs, including those from BlackRock, Fidelity and VanEck, will give investors exposure to the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency without them directly holding it.

Crypto market analysts have predicted that the approval could trigger a record-breaking rally that could eclipse the 2021 all-time high for bitcoin of $68,000.

A recent report from the multi-national bank Standard Chartered estimated that the move could bring in between $50 billion to $100 billion from institutional investors this year.

“If ETF-related inflows materialise as we expect, we think an end-2025 level closer to $200,000 is possible,” Geoff Kendrick, head of FX Research at Standard Chartered bank, wrote in a research note this week.

“This assumes that between 437,000 and 1.32 million new bitcoins will be held in spot US ETFs by end-2024. In USD terms, this should be roughly $50-100 billion.”