RIYADH: Bitcoin hit $60,000 for the first time in six months on Friday, nearing its record high, with traders growing confident that US regulators would approve the launch of the first US exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on its futures contracts, Reuters reported.
Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, rose 4.5 percent to its highest level since Apr. 17 and was at $59,787.37 at 4:43 p.m. Riyadh time.
It has risen by more than half in value since September 20 and is now close to its all-time high of $64,895.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the US. bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading next week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
“It is clear that the recent spike in bitcoin's price is directly related to the rumour that the SEC will move ahead with the US first Bitcoin ETF approval, said Mikkel Morch, executive director and risk management at crypto hedge fund ARK36. "It is becoming increasingly likely that at least one of the major contenders for a BTC futures ETF, such as Valkyrie or Van Eck, could be approved in the coming days and ahead of SEC's hard November deadlines."
The crypto market involves many tokens which may be unregistered securities and leaves prices open to manipulation and millions of investors vulnerable to risks, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has previously said.
Proposals by ProShares and Invesco are based on futures contracts and were filed under mutual fund rules that Gensler has said provide "significant investor protections", a Bloomberg report revealed, citing people familiar with the matter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled tolerance of cryptocurrencies, but is still not convinced they can replace the US dollar in settling oil trades.
“I believe that it has value,” he told CNBC in an interview at the Russian Energy Week event in Moscow Wednesday, the transcript of which was posted on the Kremlin’s website.
“It is legitimate and can be used in settlements, no doubt about that, but it is too early to use it for trading in oil or other raw materials and energy sources,” he said.
This comes after repeated warnings from the Bank of Russia that the crypto market is extremely volatile, and digital currencies are not allowed to be used for domestic payments.
Putin made it clear that contracts dominated in crypto would be a premature step as they are not stable.
In order to mine crypto, you need a lot of energy, and for that people have to use traditional sources of energy, primarily hydrocarbons, he said.
Russia has sought alternatives to trading in dollars since being slapped with sanctions in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea.
Crypto backers argue decentralized money will eventually replace fiat currencies issued by central banks.