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Bitcoin Near Record Max Amid ETF Hopes

Bitcoin has recovered from its drop in January — and then some.

The popular digital currency is quickly headed toward fresh three-year highs after jumping up well over $100 in value since last week.

After breaking through the $1,000 mark (again) at the beginning of February, bitcoin decided to stick around. Though the cryptocurrency flirted with greater values through the month of February, bitcoin mostly settled just above or below $1,000 — likely while investors waited to see how the whole Chinese exchange investigation storyline would pan out.

But now that the major exchanges have halted withdrawals for upgrades — and it appears, at least for now, that no catastrophic changes to the crypto-status quo are coming from the PBoC — it’s off to the races once again. At the time of writing, CoinDesk pegged bitcoin at $1,161.46, just a few dollars short of its 2013 record, with a total market cap of nearly $18.8 billion.

This time around, the value of bitcoin has increased dramatically on speculation that the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) will receive approval from the SEC. Approval could be seen by investors as a major milestone in the journey toward bitcoin legitimacy.

“If approved, this would certainly give a dramatic condoning of bitcoin by the authorities and powers that be,” digital currency analytics firm Cryptocompare CEO Charles Hayter told Reuters. “Perhaps key would be the institutional money which would flow into bitcoin. This would bring a certain amount of stability eventually but could see short-term exuberance by retail traders.”

The SEC has until March 11 to decide the fate of the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin Trust, one of three proposed ETFs that could track the value of bitcoin.

Nearly four years ago, the Winklevoss twins — of Facebook dispute fame and current owners of bitcoin exchange Gemini — filed with the SEC to approve a bitcoin ETF, named the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust (COIN). Since then, the proposal has been updated numerous times. The SEC has reportedly asked for public comments and repeatedly put off making a decision. But now, the SEC has run out of deadline extensions, and investors are betting on the side of approval.

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