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Friday, December 8, 2023

Bitcoin Volatility Soars on False Report Claiming SEC Approval of ETF

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After months of declining volatility, Bitcoin traders experienced some of the wildest price swings they’ve seen in a while when a false report circulated saying that the US had approved a long-awaited exchange-traded fund.

The largest digital asset jump more than 10% to $30,000 around 9:30 a.m. in New York, only to cut the gain by more than half a few minutes later after BlackRock said that its application for an ETF that invests directly in the cryptocurrency is still under review.

The intraday move was the largest since March.

Data from tracker Coinglass shows that more than $80 million worth of trading positions — mostly from traders who were betting on lower prices — were liquidated during the spate of volatility.

A measure of volatility that looks at the past 180 days dropped to multi-year lows over the summer.

The episode suggests that there remains a lot of excitement and hope for a spot-Bitcoin product in the US, which regulators have in the past refused to allow. The US Securities and Exchange Commission previously cited market manipulation, among other reasons, for not granting an endorsement. However, the incident also serves as a reminder that Bitcoin’s price can easily be moved by gossip or hearsay.

There are currently more than 10 filings for spot-Bitcoin ETFs, with industry heavyweights like BlackRock and Invesco being part of the race — which has some analysts guessing that the odds for approval may be greater this time around given their participation in the race.

Another factor influencing analyst predictions on whether a spot-Bitcoin fund will soon be allowed to launch is Grayscale’s win against the SEC as the crypto-asset-manager tries to convert its $16.7 billion Bitcoin Trust — known as GBTC — into an ETF.

On Friday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission declined to appeal on earlier positive court ruling for Grayscale, which in the eyes of many analysts served as yet another positive step toward the approval process.

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