Bitcoin Prices Touch Fresh 3-year High
|One bitcoin traded around $1,105 on Tuesday.|
One bitcoin US:BTCUSD went for as much as $1,105.48 on Tuesday, its highest level since December 2013, according to data from Coin Market Cap.
Both Amith B. Nirgunarthy, director of marketing & HNW Partnerships at Bitcoin IRA, and Chris Dannen, a founding partner at Iterative Instinct, a small New York-based private-equity fund that trades crypto-assets, said investors are attempting to so-called front-run the SEC’s decision on the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF. Front-running refers to buying an asset with the expectation of a larger buyer, or group of buyers, expected to come to push prices higher.
In this case, the SEC is expected to deliver its final decision on the trust by March 11. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who were famously portrayed by actor Armie Hammer in the hit movie “The Social Network,” first filed for creation of the ETF back in 2013. If approved, it will trade on the BATS exchange and could support prices of bitcoin.
”This is probably front-running for a potential Winklevoss ETF,” Nirgunarthy said.
To be sure, even if the Winklevoss ETF isn’t approved, a Japanese law that introduces a regulatory framework for bitcoin is set to take effect in April, potentially leading to an influx of institutional money from that country, Dannen said.
“There will be a lot of fresh fish out there next month, either way the [SEC] decision goes,” Dannen said.
Competition to launch what would be the first exchange-traded bitcoin fund has intensified in recent months. Back in January, Grayscale, the creator of the Grayscale Bitcoin TrustGBTC, +2.78% filed to list shares of the trust on the New York Stock Exchange. It presently trades over the counter, with a large premium over its relative net-asset value in bitcoin. In January, the SEC delayed its decision on a third fund, the SolidX Bitcoin Trust, which would also trade on the NYSE.
Resurgent trading volume in China, which was, until recently, bitcoin’s largest market, has also helped to support the price, Nirgunarthy said.
Since the beginning of the year, China’s largest bitcoin exchanges have imposed new transaction fees and halted customer withdrawals while they upgrade their antimoney laundering systems. These decisions, undertaken in response to stepped-up scrutiny from the People’s Bank of China, initially caused trading volume in the country to plummet.
The bitcoin price more than doubled in 2016 as Chinese investors sought ways to protect their wealth from a depreciating yuan. Crackdowns on cash in India and Venezuela also helped support the digital currency’s ascent, Dannen said.
Spencer Bogart, a bitcoin analyst at Needham & Co., doubts the SEC will approve a bitcoin ETF. However, if it does, it could lead to as much as $300 million in institutional money entering the bitcoin market during the first week alone.
This would likely have an outsize impact on the price of a single coin, he said.