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March 4, 2024

Bitcoin Reaches 2-Year Highs Closing the Week up 22%

March 4, 2024

In a whirlwind week for the cryptocurrency market, Bitcoin surged past the $60,000 milestone, marking a 22% weekly increase and sparking renewed optimism among investors. 

The ascent, fueled by ETF inflows and anticipation of the upcoming halving event, set the stage for a potential surge to $200,000, according to industry experts. 

Additionally, the meteoric rise of meme coins hinted at the onset of an altcoin season, with analysts predicting a shift in dominance from Bitcoin to alternative tokens. 

Amidst this flurry of activity, Grayscale’s CEO expressed unwavering confidence in the approval of a Spot Ethereum ETF by the SEC, signaling a pivotal moment for digital asset investment products. 

With Bitcoin nearing all-time highs, let’s get started.

Bitcoin soars past $60,000 as +22% week closes

In an electrifying surge, Bitcoin has catapulted past the $60,000 mark, hitting an intraday peak of $65,000 today. 

The cryptocurrency has demonstrated a remarkable ascent over the past week, recording a robust 22% surge which has helped the world’s leading crypto to an astounding 158% increase over the preceding 12 months. 

BTC/USD price over 5 years
BTC/USD price over 5 years

The recent upswing in Bitcoin’s valuation can be primarily attributed to the green light received from the U.S. SEC for several spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds that were initially launched in January. 

Additionally, the anticipation surrounding the impending Bitcoin halving event has sparked a fresh influx of investors into the market, which has helped to propel Bitcoin’s value further. 

Scheduled to occur in a mere 51 days on April 21, the Bitcoin halving event, occurring once every four years, is poised to exert a substantial influence on market dynamics.

On the heels of Bitcoin’s surge, Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of Skybridge, emphasized how the rally has dealt a significant blow to investors who had taken short positions on Bitcoin. 

Speculation surrounding the forthcoming Bitcoin halving event has reached fever pitch, with Scaramucci boldly predicting that the event could potentially propel Bitcoin’s price to surpass $200,000, given prevailing market conditions. 

However, amidst the euphoria, JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon offered a note of caution during an interview with CNBC at the JP Morgan Global High Yield & Leveraged Finance Conference. 

Dimon highlighted the inherent volatility of financial markets and cautioned against fixating solely on short-term indicators, underscoring the importance of discerning long-term trends for informed decision-making.

Bitcoin ETF inflows up despite Grayscale selling

Despite a significant sell-off from Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), the broader landscape of the cryptocurrency market remained buoyant this week, with inflows into other US-listed spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds more than compensating for the GBTC sales. 

According to data from BitMEX Research, GBTC’s outflows were offset by a net inflow of $92 million into other spot bitcoin ETFs.

Tweet from BitMEX depicting Bitcoin ETFs inflows and outflows
Tweet from BitMEX depicting Bitcoin ETFs inflows and outflows

Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust experienced a significant $600 million outflow on Thursday, marking its most substantial single-day redemption since January 22. 

Analysts speculate that the surge in selling activity could be attributed to Genesis, a prominent crypto lender, who recently obtained court approval to liquidate 35 million GBTC shares.

On the other hand, BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin ETF (IBIT) continued to demonstrate robust performance, witnessing a staggering $604 million inflow on Thursday alone. 

This influx of fresh capital propelled IBIT’s assets under management past the $10 billion mark, solidifying its position as a dominant player in the cryptocurrency investment space. 

Since its inception just seven weeks ago, IBIT has accumulated over 161,000 Bitcoin, showcasing its remarkable growth trajectory.

The surge in demand for spot bitcoin ETFs comes amidst Bitcoin’s resurgence, with the cryptocurrency surging past the $60,000 mark for the first time since November 2021. 

Bitcoin’s impressive 44% gain in February outpaced the broader market, reflecting renewed investor interest in digital assets.

Meme coin surge hints at altcoin season, analysts say

In a week marked by remarkable gains in meme coins like DOGE and SHIB, analysts are seeing early signals pointing towards the onset of an altcoin season, according to insights from K33 Research.

While Bitcoin has been at the helm of the recent crypto market rally, experts suggest that the dominance of the leading cryptocurrency might soon be challenged by a resurgence in alternative tokens.

K33 Research analysts predict a shift in the Bitcoin dominant trend that has so far been prevalent in 2024. 

According to their Friday market report, historical patterns suggest that altcoins tend to outperform BTC around this juncture. 

Bitcoin's market cap and the market value of all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin and ether (Total3) relative to bitcoin (K33 Research)
Bitcoin’s market cap and the market value of all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin and ether (Total3) relative to bitcoin (K33 Research)

Drawing parallels to late 2020, they noted that Bitcoin’s market cap has doubled relative to the total value of all cryptocurrencies except BTC and Ethereum since the market bottom in November 2022.

The recent surge in meme coins, described as “tremendous” by analysts, is viewed as a potential harbinger of the impending altcoin season. 

Dog-themed tokens like DOGE and SHIB recorded gains of 40%-50% this week, while newer entrants such as PEPE, BONK, and WIF saw their prices double or more during the same period.

However, the emergence of Bitcoin ETFs has altered the dynamics of crypto investments, casting uncertainty on the flow of capital to smaller assets. 

Analysts caution that while select altcoins may experience significant upward momentum, a broader influx of retail investors into the altcoin arena is necessary to drive sustained growth across the sector.

In a separate analysis, Swissblock analysts echoed sentiments of an impending alt season, citing indicators suggesting a potential turnaround in altcoin performance relative to Bitcoin. 

A chart shared on Telegram illustrates that the median returns of altcoins compared to Bitcoin are approaching a bottom, hinting at a forthcoming reversal that could propel altcoin prices upwards.

Median altcoin returns compared to bitcoin’s return (Swissblock)

Ethereum ETFs – a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’

Grayscale’s CEO, Michael Sonnenshein, remains steadfast in his confidence regarding the approval of a Spot Ethereum ETF by the SEC. 

Sonnenshein spoke last week with CNBC, expressing his belief that it’s not a matter of if, but when, an Ethereum ETF will receive regulatory approval.

Grayscale CEO speaking with CNBC regarding the Ethereum ETF

Following the SEC’s historic approval of 11 Spot Bitcoin ETFs in January 2024, attention quickly turned to other digital assets, with Ethereum being a prime candidate for similar investment products. 

Sonnenshein highlighted the extensive groundwork laid by Grayscale to meet the SEC’s requirements for a Spot Bitcoin ETF, indicating that the process is replicable for Ethereum.

Despite uncertainties surrounding SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s stance on an ETH ETF approval, Sonnenshein remains optimistic. 

When questioned about the possibility of a lawsuit similar to the one faced by Bitcoin ETF applicants, Sonnenshein emphasized that it’s premature to make such assertions. 

However, he drew parallels between Ethereum’s current position and Bitcoin’s before its ETF approval, suggesting a potential path forward.

Earlier discussions among industry executives hinted at the likelihood of an Ethereum ETF approval, with some estimating a 50% chance of success. 

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