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This Week in Cryptocurrencies: Decrypt: ETF Hype Pumps Bitcoin and Ethereum as Chainlink and Bitcoin Cash Soar


This week in Coins
Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt.

With each passing week, it’s getting easier to talk about crypto’s relative stability compared to its performance in recent history—even just a year ago. A cursory glance at some of the headlines of this column over the year reveals we’ve had more slow news weeks than otherwise in 2023.

However, we’ve still come a long way since New Year’s Day, when market leader Bitcoin (BTC) sold for roughly $16.5K. The world’s favorite cryptocurrency begins the last weekend of September at a significantly higher price: $26,972. While that's only 2% higher than last week, it's about 60% more valuable than at the start of the year. 

The market’s biggest contender, Ethereum (ETH), added 4.7% over the last seven days and currently trades for $1,672, or about 40% higher than its New Year's Day price of $1,200.

This week, the added boost to Ether’s price likely had something to do with the fact that VanEck’s Ethereum Futures Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) was officially confirmed on Thursday.

ETFs are regulated investment products that allow investors to gain exposure to crypto without the risks of directly purchasing and storing it. To date, not a single crypto spot ETF has been approved by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That’s because spot ETFs are tied to the underlying assets, which are so far unregulated, but various Bitcoin and Ethereum futures ETFs that utilize derivatives are currently trading. 

On Thursday, the SEC delayed delivering a verdict on two pending Ethereum spot ETF applications until after Christmas: Ark Invest and VanEck. The agency also announced that it was putting four major Bitcoin spot ETFs on the backburner: BlackRock, Bitwise, Invesco Galaxy Digital, and Valkyrie.

The only notable price movements among the thirty biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization this week were those of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which rallied 11.8% to $234.13, and Chainlink (LINK), which surged 14% to $7.72. 

LINK’s rally was catalyzed by the news that the network has extended cross-chain capabilities to Coinbase’s Ethereum layer-2 network Base. By integrating its Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) with Base, the two networks can now interact, send messages, transfer tokens, and perform other functions. Chainlink is also the primary oracle for the Base network.

In other news...

It was another slow week with relatively few political or institutional developments vis-à-vis crypto regulation and adoption.

On Monday, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced new measures to enhance transparency and security in the cryptocurrency space. The initiative comes as authorities in the semi-autonomous city-state grapple with the JPEX incident: a case of suspected fraud involving a Dubai-based crypto exchange operating in Hong Kong’s turf without licensing. 

There are thought to be at least 2,305 victims of the incident, who collectively have been defrauded of HK$1.43 billion ($182.9 million), making JPEX one of the largest cases of financial fraud in Hong Kong history. 

Finally, Stablecoin issuer Circle launched its fiat-backed euro-pegged EURC stablecoin on Stellar, the third blockchain to host the coin after Ethereum and Avalanche.

Sources


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