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The recovery that began last week—after U.S. inflation appeared to cool—hit its stride this week as markets continued to reverberate from the bombshell of the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, filing an application to the SEC for a Bitcoin spot Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF).
Dozens of companies apply for ETFs, and dozens have been rejected. To date, not a single Bitcoin spot ETF has been approved by the crypto-skeptic SEC, despite the fact that Canadian regulators have approved many of them.
The stakes are high: a spot ETF would offer investors the chance to buy into Bitcoin and either ride the gravy train or go to hell in a hand basket, but if the latter, they’ll be safe in the knowledge that their investment is protected, unlike those who purchase and store crypto directly.
If anybody has a chance of getting an ETF approved, it’s BlackRock. The firm boasts an incredible $9 trillion in assets under management and has a winning score of 575-1 when it comes to getting an ETF approved by the SEC.
The news inspired two more U.S. asset managers, WisdomTree and Invesco, which have both previously applied for their own ETFs—to file fresh ETF applications this week. Valkyrie followed suit shortly after.
Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETC) both surged this week. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency shot up 18% to its current price of $30,687, while the biggest runner up rallied 12.7% to trade at $1,893 at the start of the weekend.
Investors flooded into other cryptocurrencies this week as well. In fact, most of the top thirty cryptocurrencies by market cap shot up by double-digit percentages. There were no losses among the major unbacked coins.
Bitcoin fork Bitcoin Cash (BCH) ballooned a staggering 80.5% over the last seven days and currently trades for $192.90.
Regulation and expansion
While all eyes were on the SEC and big asset managers this week, there were a couple of other stories that indicated the steady adoption of crypto is continuing around the world.
In the United Kingdom, a central bank digital currency (CBDC) trial project backed by the Bank of England published its findings, concluding that a centrally-issued sterling-pegged digital currency could “enable a robust ecosystem to foster innovation, and to help meet the future needs of a more digitalised society.”
The project—dubbed Project Rosalind—emphasized the programmability of crypto through smart contracts, which facilitate automatic payments and enable new kinds of online transactions.
On Monday, British parliamentarians in the House of Lords (upper chamber) voted through the Financial Services and Markets Bill, a piece of legislation that proposes regulation for stablecoins, crypto and crypto promotion.
The bill has already passed the House of Commons and has made it through to the final stages: the Consideration of Amendments, where both chambers debate the proposals and tighten the screws until they both agree. The final stage requires a signature from King Charlie himself.
It was reported on Tuesday that Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, applied for a digital asset custody platform license with the German finance regulator, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).
During a semiannual hearing on monetary policy held by the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee and led by Patrick McHenry (R-NC) on Wednesday, Fed chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank should play a “robust federal role” in crypto regulation and added that Bitcoin has “staying power” while implying the same about stablecoins.
Finally, XRP progenitor Ripple was granted an in-principle payments license in Singapore. Ripple has long felt heat from U.S. regulators. A lawsuit against it by the SEC has been ongoing since 2020 and, like Coinbase, the company is now hedging its bets through global expansion.