Tech

$3 Billion of New Bitcoin Funds Change Hands in First Trading Day

More than $3 billion of a newly approved investment product tied to Bitcoin changed hands in the first few hours of trading on Thursday, as cryptocurrency enthusiasts celebrated a watershed moment for the industry.

Eleven of the products, known as exchange-traded funds, or E.T.F.s, started trading on popular platforms such as the Nasdaq a day after federal regulators authorized them, creating a simpler way for investors to bet on the cryptocurrency markets. Major financial firms, including asset managers like BlackRock and Fidelity, are offering the E.T.F.s.

It may take months to gauge the impact on the cryptocurrency industry, which is still reeling from a recent series of market crashes and high-profile corporate bankruptcies. Initial trading data did not show how much new investment flowed into the Bitcoin funds; some of the trading activity may have stemmed from investors who bought shares and then quickly flipped them.

“It’s not a one-day event,” said Sandy Kaul, who runs the digital asset arm of Franklin Templeton, one of the firms offering the E.T.F.s. “Six months is a really good moment to understand: Is this a transformational product?”

Bitcoin’s price briefly rose to $49,000 on Thursday before dipping to $46,000. Optimism that the funds were nearing approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission drove Bitcoin’s price up more than 60 percent over recent months to its highest levels since the market imploded in 2022.

The approvals were a major victory for the crypto industry as it gears up for a series of legal battles with the federal government. The S.E.C. has sued Coinbase, the largest U.S. crypto exchange, and several other major firms, arguing that they have illegally marketed unregistered securities, a possible existential threat to the industry.

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