The price of virtual currency has been climbing as the Securities and Exchange Commission is on the way to approve the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
Bitcoin reached a record high on Friday, for the first time exceeding the value of gold. The digital currency traded for $1,262, while an ounce of gold traded for approximately $1,233. Currently, bitcoin values $1,272.78, according to Coinmarketcap.
While there are a number of possible reasons for the rising bitcoin value, it is more likely that the speculation on whether the U.S. bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) will be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has driven the demand.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who proposed a bitcoin ETF, are currently awaiting approval for an application that was filed almost four years ago. If approved, this would be the first bitcoin ETF introduced by a U.S. entity.
The deadline by which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should make a decision is on March 11, but since the date falls on Saturday the deadline moves to March 13.
Meantime, analysts say that the chances for approval are rather high, Cointelegraph reports. The SEC had already introduced ETFs in the past, but they didn’t get much attention from the industry. ASHR is an example of such an ETF which was approved by the agency.
According to Spencer Bogart, vice president of equity research at Needham & Co, the odds against the ETF approval is evenly matched “because of the fact that the officials of the SEC who will approve the ETF don’t receive any incentive for the performance of the ETF”. If the security fails, the officials who approved it will be made responsible for its downfall.
Currently, there are two bitcoin ETF applications pending with the commission. Both SolidX Partners and Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust filed their applications last year. The decision on the SolidX Partners will be made by March 30, while Bitcoin Investment Trust will get a decision from the SEC on October 7.
Some analysts predict that the price of bitcoin will surpass $3500 in view of the increasing demand. Spencer Bogart, Wall Street analyst with investment institution Needham & Co, assesses the likelihood of the SEC’s approval at 25% or less.
Over the last year, the value of bitcoin has surged by more than 200%. Since the start of 2017, a unit of virtual currency showed a 30% growth in value. The price of gold, meantime, decreased by just 1% within the past 12 months.
Surpassing gold’s value is a milestone for the digital currency. The effect, however, is unlikely to continue as it can be attributed only to the falling price of gold and the pending bitcoin EFT approval.
Menaitme, the first strip club in the US that accepts bitcoin payments, The Legends Room, is also waiting ETF approval. In a press-release published on Sunday, it announced that if approved Winklevoss ETF would join The Legends Room in expanding the potential audience for digital currency.