The bitcoin price has today climbed above the $8,000 mark for the first time since mid-May — leading many to predict a return to the bull run that last year powered bitcoin to almost $20,000.
The latest boost for bitcoin comes after a week that saw it add almost 20% to its price on the back of news that established financial giants are looking to get in on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and a raft of positive regulatory news around the world.
Meanwhile, the so-called bitcoin dominance rate — a measure of how much of the total cryptocurrency market is controlled by bitcoin — rose to 47% this week, the highest level since December last year, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Here’s what’s pushing the bitcoin price higher right now…
Many have attributed the recent bullishness around bitcoin to the expected approval of a bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF).
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is mulling whether to approve the ETF, which was filed through the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) by New York-based VanEck and blockchain platform SolidX.
If approved a bitcoin ETF would mean people are able to buy into bitcoin without having to deal with clunky exchanges that often struggle with cumbersome regulation and lack of public trust.
It would now appear the bitcoin ETF is likely to get approved, according to an unconfirmed report by the ICO Journal late last week.
The website reports that two sources, one at the SEC and the other at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), have said they are “nearly certain” that the bitcoin ETF will get approval — a decision that many are expecting around August 15.
“I would call [the likelihood of approval] 90% at this point. The crypto markets have moderated and regulators have watched the lack of drama surrounding bitcoin futures across several global exchanges,” one of the ICO Journal’s unnamed sources, from the CFTC, reportedly said. “The price moderation and adoption of a peer product is what the conversations have centered around. In January we were justifiably concerned about a bubble and the harm a quickly approved product could attract speculators and create losses that led to significant lawsuits. Now, those factors seem to be mitigated significantly.”
The ICO Journal’s second source, from the SEC, expects the decision to come in September but is still upbeat: “I would expect a positive outcome in September – or if it gets strung out a little further it is simply a few ‘dotted i’s and crossed t’s’ are being finalized on larger regulatory language in the crypto space.”
Elsewhere, news that BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is keen on bitcoin and cryptocurrency is still powering bitcoin onwards, with investors hoping a surge of instituational money will drive fresh demand for the digital coins.
Bolstering the BlackRock news was the appointment of David Solomon as the new chief executive of Goldman Sachs last week, who in June said the New York-based investment bank is looking in to adding further bitcoin and cryptocurrency services to its portfolio.
According to Solomon, Goldman Sachs is already offering clients publicly-traded derivatives tied to bitcoin but in an interview with Bloomberg he said the bank must “evolve its business and adapt to the environment.”
In regualtory news, last week international financial watchdog, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), released a report that found bitcoin and cryptocurrencies do not currently pose a material risk to the global financial system — which was taken as a sign that global regualtors are likely to take soft touch on bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation.
Meanwhile, the FSB — which has members from the G20 major economies — said it planned to monitor cryptocurrency assets at banks and the world’s largest financial systems.
However, the boom for bitcoin — the world’s largest cryptocurrency by some distance — has so far failed to bleed across to the world’s other big digital tokens.
Ether is down some 1% in the last 24 hours, while ripple is down 2.6% and bitcoin cash is down by 3%.