February 28, 2024

A Bitcoin logo spray-painted on a concrete wall.

Full-circle moment.
Photo: Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Back in late 2022, the price of bitcoin was stuck around a measly $16,000. It had lost three-quarters of the value it had racked up during an early-pandemic bull run. But then came the so-called “crypto winter.” Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange went down in a blaze of indictments and recriminations. The market for crypto-linked NFTS (non-fungible tokens) was a smoldering heap. Things got so burnt that auditing firms wouldn’t touch the industry with the thickest of oven mitts. But things have turned around, and now bitcoin is back above $50,000 for the first time since late 2021.

The biggest driver in the late surge of interest is the US government allowing the proliferation of new exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Though some investors used the opportunity to move their money around to save on fees, sector-wide inflows are now driving bitcoin prices more than twice as high as they had been a year ago.

CoinDesk’s Krisztian Sandor suggests that bankrupt cryptocurrency lending firm Genesis Global Trading, which still has to unwind $1.6 billion held at the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, might weigh on markets when the time comes. But for now, it seems like there’s still enough excitement in the market to keep the party going.

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