The price of bitcoin hit a new record high today amid increasing inflation in the U.S. and the successful debut of the bitcoin-linked ProShares Exchange Traded Fund the day before.
Bitcoin peaked at $66,974.44 just before 11 a.m. EDT, up from around $64,000 the day before. Bitcoin’s previous record high came in April when it hit surged to just below $65,000. A crackdown on cryptocurrency in China, along with a U.S. Federal Bureau of Exchange raid, caused bitcoin to drop to just below $30,000 in July.
Although bitcoin has traditionally gone up and down over time, arguably two primary factors have driven the cryptocurrency to hit a new record high.
The first was that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission-approved bitcoin futures ETF, ProShares ETF, made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday and rose almost 5%. The fund tracks CME bitcoin futures, which are contracts speculating on the future price of bitcoin. Coindesk noted that the strength of the ProShares ETF debut has driven momentum in the overall bitcoin market.
“The approval of bitcoin futures ETFs has been met with an influx of interest from institutional investors,” Aubrey Strobel, head of communication at bitcoin rewards app Lolli Inc., told SiliconANGLE. “The SEC’s approval of futures ETFs also signals promise for other bitcoin-related financial products. That’s a sign of a warming regulatory environment for bitcoin in the U.S., where financial authorities are recognizing that bitcoin is very much here to stay and that there is an ever-growing body of consumers with interest in owning or investing in bitcoin.”
The other factor at play is increasing inflation in the U.S. driven by increased government spending, the printing of money and a deepening supply chain crisis. That was cited by billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, who views cryptocurrency as a hedge against inflation.
In an interview with CNBC, Jones said that “it would be my preferred one over gold at the moment” and that “clearly, there’s a place for crypto… clearly, it’s winning the race against gold.” Jones added that he was very worried about rising inflation, saying that it poses a major threat to U.S. financial markets and the recovery in the COVID-hit economy.
Jones is not alone with this view, with renowned investor Carl Ichan warning that the next market crisis may be on the horizon and that bitcoin could be the best bet against inflation. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. also agree, saying in a note to investors that “the re-emergence of inflation concerns among investors” is driving the growth in bitcoin’s price.
As a result, said Gavin Smith, chief executive officer of cryptocurrency services provider Panxora, “the longer-term outlook for bitcoin remains strongly bullish.”
“Corporations and family offices are leading this by putting some of their excess cash into bitcoin as an inflation hedge and from a fundamentals perspective, it’s becoming clearer by the day that inflation is not going to go away,” Smith explained. “With the successful launch of the ProShares bitcoin futures ETF, this will now offer an easy route for retail investors to take advantage of this marketplace too.”