The price of bitcoin has always been a closely monitored datapoint in the world of digital currencies given that it’s pretty much the touchstone for cryptocurrencies. And this week, the cryptocurrency’s price shot above $34,500 per token, further cementing its position at the top of the pile.
At the time of publication, one bitcoin was worth around $34,800, up 23.4% on the week and 109% from $16,625 at the beginning of the year, according to CoinMarketCap. On Monday, the cryptocurrency almost reached $35,000, marking its highest price since May 2022, when the Terra/LUNA collapse led to a sharp decline in the value of most digital tokens.
Bitcoin’s price had been rising “very smoothly for eight weeks, suggesting an accumulation phase, and early last week, it fired off several important bull market transition signals at once,” Alex Kuptsikevich, the FxPro senior market analyst, told TechCrunch+. “These signals provided an opportunity to break through the 50-day moving average… These bullish victories attract a wide range of investors and traders to focus on these signals.”
Not everyone is cheering these gains, though. The recent run has been the “perfect storm” for market participants who have been shorting bitcoin, John Glover, chief investment officer at Ledn, said.
What is driving the hike?
The primary driver of this week’s price moves has been the anticipation and “high likelihood of the approval” of a bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF), according to Michael Silberberg, head of investor relations at Alt Tab Capital.
There has been ample market speculation around a possible bitcoin spot ETF and the potential such a fund holds for unlocking new demand for bitcoin itself. More demand could lead to rising prices since the supply of bitcoin is limited, and some traders may be working to get ahead of any future value gains.
Many traditional financial players aren’t allowed to trade spot market cryptocurrencies yet, due to regulation and compliance matters. So, they do it through other regulated products like bitcoin futures.
There is a belief that a bitcoin spot ETF will allow for much pent-up institutional interest to flow in through these ETFs, Bradley Duke, chief strategy officer at crypto ETP provider ETC Group, said. “This will put upward pressure on the price of bitcoin.”
Still, the road to a bitcoin spot ETF has been bumpy. Last week, a false report surfaced of BlackRock’s ETF application being approved, which caused a slight pump in the value of bitcoin.