Bitcoin hits 3-year peak, nears record high on U.S. ETF approval talk

Bitcoin hits 3-year peak, nears record high on U.S. ETF approval talk
By Jemima Kelly
Feb 23 2017
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-markets-bitcoin-idUSKBN16221V

Digital currency bitcoin hit its highest levels in more than three years on Thursday and came within $3 of an all-time peak, on speculation that the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is set to receive approval from the U.S. financial regulator.

Traditional financial players have largely shunned the web-based “cryptocurrency”, viewing it as too volatile, complicated and risky, and doubting its inherent value.

Having already risen about 17 percent this year, it added 3 percent more on the day to hit $1,160 per bitcoin on Europe’s Bitstamp exchange, just shy of an all-time high of $1,163 reached in November 2013 BTC=BTSP.

Some analysts say regulatory approval of a bitcoin ETF would make the currency relatively attractive to the often more cautious institutional investor market.

Three ETFs that track the value of bitcoin have been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for approval.

The SEC will decide by March 11 whether to approve one filed almost four years ago by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. If approved, it would be the first bitcoin ETF issued and regulated by a U.S. entity.

“If approved this would certainly give a dramatic condoning of bitcoin by the authorities and powers that be,” digital currency analytics firm Cryptocompare CEO, Charles Hayter, said.

“Perhaps key would be the institutional money which would flow into bitcoin. This would bring a certain amount of stability eventually but could see short-term exuberance by retail traders,” he said.

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