Crypto Headlines of the Week: All Eyes on Spot Bitcoin ETFs

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Earlier this week, Bitcoin dropped 8% after a Matrixport report claimed the SEC was poised to reject spot Bitcoin ETF applications this month. However, toward the end of the week, there has been increased optimism that the SEC would greenlight these products next week, specifically after some last-minute application updates.

The spot Bitcoin ETF narrative has been dominating the crypto market for the past few weeks. In fact, much of the recent rally in crypto prices is attributed to increasing optimism surrounding the launch of a spot Bitcoin ETF product. 

Therefore, when a Matrixport report claimed the SEC was poised to reject spot Bitcoin ETF applications this month, a flash crash was a natural response. The crash saw the leading cryptocurrency, which hit a multi-year high of $45,000 earlier in the week, plunge to as low as $40,000. 

Here are the major crypto stories of the week:

Spot ETF Delay Rumors Crash Market

On Wednesday, Bitcoin saw a rapid decline of approximately 8% after a report from Matrixport claimed the SEC is poised to reject spot Bitcoin ETF applications this month. “Matrix on Target projects a January rejection for Bitcoin Spot ETFs by the SEC, cautioning traders to hedge long exposure,” the company wrote in a recent post on X (formerly Twitter). The flash crash led to over half a billion dollars in longs liquidated in just one hour. 

Bitcoin Price Drops $3K in Minutes as Analysts Throw Caution at ETF Predictions (Techopedia.com)

Last Minute Application Updates!

According to a Reuters report, investment management firms, stock exchanges, and the SEC discussed final wording changes on filings for spot Bitcoin ETFs on Friday, a step that could lead to approval of the funds for the first time next week. Multiple issuers told the outlet that they expect to receive final approval of S-1 filings by late Tuesday or Wednesday.

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U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs could win approval next week after last-minute application updates (Reuters)

Bitcoin Surpasses $45,000 for First Time in Two Years

On Wednesday, the leading cryptocurrency surpassed $45,000 for the first time in nearly two years amid growing optimism around the launch of spot ETFs.

The upcoming halving, a process that cuts the quantity of Bitcoin that miners receive per block reward in half, has likely further contributed to Bitcoin’s rally. 

Bitcoin Topped $45,000 for First Time in Nearly Two Years (Bloomberg)

Jim Cramer Changes Stance on Bitcoin

Longtime crypto critic Jim Cramer has made a surprising change of stance by expressing a newfound appreciation for Bitcoin, calling it a “technological marvel” that cannot be killed.

“The late Charlie Munger, who was so brilliant on so many things, was blind to this,” Cramer said in a recent appearance on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. People who are aware of the Inverse-Cramer meme should be worried!

Jim Cramer Changes Stance on Bitcoin: “You Can’t Kill It” (Yahoo! Finance)

Goldman Sachs’ Considers Being an Authorized Participant’ for Spot Bitcoin ETFs

According to anonymous sources, investment bank Goldman Sachs is in talks to be an authorized participant (“AP”) for the ETFs that BlackRock and Grayscale want to introduce.

That’s one of the most important jobs in the multi-trillion-dollar ETF industry, a role that involves creating and redeeming ETF shares to ensure the products trade in lockstep with their underlying assets, per a report from CoinDesk. 

Goldman Sachs Eyeing Bitcoin ETF Role Via BlackRock and Grayscale: Sources (CoinDesk)

South Korea to Ban Crypto Purchases Using Credit Cards

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) has proposed an amendment to its credit finance act that would effectively prohibit local citizens from purchasing cryptocurrencies using credit cards.

Per the FSC, the main reason for the proposed amendment is to limit South Korean crypto traders from buying crypto on foreign crypto exchanges.

South Korea proposes ban on credit card payments for cryptocurrencies (Cointelegraph)

However, as our columnist Anndy Lian explores, the country is, on the whole, demonstrating a forward-thinking approach to crypto regulation.

South Korea: Exploring the New Virtual Asset Accounting and Disclosure Guidelines (Techopedia)

Bitcoin NFT Sales Overtake Ethereum, Solana

The Bitcoin blockchain recorded NFT sales worth over $881 million in December 2023, overtaking established NFT marketplaces on Ethereum (ETH) and Solana (SOL) during the month. Bitcoin NFT collection called Van Gogh’s painting, which looks “to preserve the beauty of Van Gogh forever,” emerged as the top Bitcoin NFT collection in late 2023.

NFT Sales on Bitcoin Peak Near $900 Million in December 2023 – What’s Next? (Techopedia)

First Hack of 2024

Orbit Chain, a cross-chain bridging project, has lost over $80 million in assets in the first hack of 2024. Most of the stolen funds were in stablecoins, including $30 million in USDT, $10 million in USDC, and $10 million in DAI; an estimated 231 WBTC ($10 million) and 9,500 ETH ($21.5 million) were also lost. 

$80M lost in the first hack of 2024 (Blockworks)

Visa Launches Web3 Loyalty Program

Visa is releasing a Web3 loyalty service that involves gamified giveaways and immersive treasure hunts. The platform, named the Visa Web3 Loyalty Engagement Solution, will let brands create digital wallets where they can store reward points and experiences on behalf of consumers. 

Visa Reimagines Customer Loyalty with New Web3 Engagement Solution (Visa)

The Bottom Line

Earlier this week, Bitcoin dropped 8% after a Matrixport report claimed the SEC was poised to reject spot Bitcoin ETF applications this month.

However, toward the end of the week, there has been increased optimism that the SEC would greenlight these products next week, specifically after some last-minute application updates. 

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Ruholamin Haqshanas

Ruholamin is a crypto and financial journalist with over three years of experience. Apart from Techopedia, he has been featured in major news outlets, including Cryptonews, Investing.com, 24/7 Wall St, The Tokenist, Business2Community, and has also worked with some prominent crypto and DeFi projects.  He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechatronics. Ruholamin enjoys reading about tech developments, writing, and nature-watching