Bitcoin surges above $30,000 after a wild week for crypto investors – Yahoo Finance


Bitcoin (BTC-USD) briefly surged above $30,000 Friday after the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped legal charges against two cryptocurrency executives from Ripple Labs, another victory for the industry as it fights regulatory threats on several fronts.
The rise in bitcoin, which jumped 5% over the last day, pushed it above the $30,000 marker for the first time since August. Other digital assets also pushed higher, including the XRP (XRP-USD) token issued by Ripple. Year to date, bitcoin has rallied more than 80%.
The rally punctuated the end of a volatile week for crypto investors, who found reasons to cheer a series of legal developments, market chatter, and rumors involving the SEC, which is attempting a widespread crackdown on the crypto industry. The regulator has sued a number of big players, including Coinbase (COIN) and Binance.
The first development came last Friday when media reports suggested the SEC wouldn’t appeal a court ruling that improves the chances that asset manager Grayscale Investments will be able to launch a spot bitcoin exchange-trade fund.
Asset managers have for years been trying to convince the SEC to approve a spot bitcoin ETF, which would allow investors to get exposure to the world’s largest cryptocurrency without having to own it. The SEC had denied the various applications, arguing the products were vulnerable to market manipulation.
"Once the SEC announced that they would not be pursuing an appeal, we saw a very compelling bid," Sean Farrell, a digital asset analyst with Fundstrat, told Yahoo Finance.
Then on Monday a rumor circulated that giant money manager BlackRock (BLK) had received new SEC approval for a spot bitcoin ETF, and that pushed bitcoin near $30,000. Prices pulled back when BlackRock denied it.
The SEC is still considering applications from BlackRock, Grayscale, and a number of other asset managers; investors expect the agency to rule on the applications by Jan. 10.
"The time is right for a spot bitcoin ETF,” Bitwise chief investment officer Matt Hougan said on Yahoo Finance Live earlier this week. Bitwise is among the companies seeking SEC approval.
"The SEC has previously been worried about market manipulation, about a lack of maturity in the market, but the bitcoin market of today is not the bitcoin market of a few years ago."
The new rally in digital assets over the last 24 hours was triggered by an SEC decision on Thursday to dismiss its charges against Ripple co-founders Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen, who were sued for helping Ripple sell XRP.
SEC had argued that the sale of the token amounted to a violation of US law because XRP was not registered as a security with the SEC.
The US judge overseeing the case, Analisa Torres, resolved some claims against the executives and Ripple in mid-July when she ruled that XRP was not a security when it was purchased by the general public.
But she also partly ruled in the SEC’s favor by stating that XRP was in fact a security when sold to institutional investors. She later rejected an attempt by the SEC to appeal her split ruling.
The SEC’s claims against Garlinghouse and Larsen over the sale of XRP to those investors were still scheduled to be tried before a jury, but the SEC said Thursday it no longer wanted to pursue those charges.
The SEC asked the court to give the agency three weeks to confer with Ripple in the hope of establishing a financial settlement tied to its sale of XRP to institutional investors. The SEC declined comment.
David Hollerith is a senior reporter for Yahoo Finance covering banking and crypto.
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