Bitcoin shoots past $66K, with a one-month gain of more than 50%

·3 min read

The world's largest cryptocurrency may have finally hit its watershed moment. 

On Tuesday, the first-ever U.S. exchange-traded fund offering investors exposure to the Bitcoin market went live. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BITO, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF has seen a flood of demand in its first two days of trading that has sent it more than 8% higher. 

And with its albeit early but so far successful debut, the ETF, which tracks Bitcoin through futures and not the cryptocurrency itself, has injected a renewed sense of optimism around the future of Satoshi Nakamoto's creation that is now seemingly showing up in Bitcoin's price. The cryptocurrency hit yet another record high Wednesday of $66,930.39, while the broader digital assets world also climbed more than 4% over the prior 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

"It's reached a tipping point where it's becoming more and more of a real thing," D.A. Davidson Managing Director Chris Brendler tells Fortune

Bitcoin's resurgent rise follows a summer where the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency saw its value cut nearly in half. Then, in early August, Gary Gensler, the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, indicated an openness to green-lighting a Bitcoin ETF that tracks futures following the cryptocurrency, rather than its spot market. Bitcoin subsequently began to make a slow and steady comeback before beginning on its rapid ascent in recent weeks. 

Just a month ago, the cryptocurrency was trading around $43,505. Its new peak reached Wednesday represents a one-month gain well in excess of 50%.

Until now, the cryptocurrency market has largely been out of reach for some of Wall Street's biggest investors and institutions. 

The emergence of a Bitcoin-tracking ETF like that of ProShare's could change that, though. Over the last decade, investors have become well familiarized with ETFs, which trade like stocks but track a basket of underlying assets that are often representative of something like an index such as the S&P 500. BITO is slightly different in that, instead of tracking Bitcoin itself as proponents have pushed the U.S. regulators to allow for over the past eight years, the fund follows Bitcoin futures that are offered by CME Group, one of the world's largest financial exchanges whose business and markets are regulated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. 

So, while the Bitcoin futures ETF may not be exactly what many had hoped for—as the likes of CoinDesk Research Analyst George Kaloudis say it does not track Bitcoin as well as a fund that actually includes the crypto would—it does still open the burgeoning market's doors to a new slate of investors. And in a space where "fear of missing out" can play a significant role, that is now trickling through with Bitcoin's movements in recent days, Kaloudis says. "A lot of Bitcoin's price gains are around momentum."

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