Bitcoin Shakes Off Binance News, Rises Above $37K as Spot ETF Approval Eyed

Analysts suggest the Binance deal may have cleared the decks for the long-awaited U.S. spot bitcoin ETF.

AccessTimeIconNov 22, 2023 at 7:33 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 5:32 p.m. UTC

Volatile crypto markets this week have resolved to the upside Wednesday afternoon, with bitcoin (BTC) pushing through $37,400 and now higher for the week despite the exit from the scene of another major crypto figure.

Crypto markets were initially buffeted Monday on the leak of a potential massive settlement of U.S. criminal charges against Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange. Confirmation on Tuesday of the $4.3 billion fine as well as a guilty plea by its founder and CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao – who also agreed to step away from the company – shook markets further, sending bitcoin plunging below $36,000 at one point that evening.

Markets have been bouncing since, though, with bitcoin now higher by about 1.5% over the past 24 hours and just shy of $37,400 after having begun the week at about $37,000.

The broader CoinDesk Market Index (CMI) is ahead by more than 2% over the past 24 hours, led by a 5% gain for ether (ETH) and 6% advances for Solana (SOL) and Chainlink (LINK).

Stepping away from the headlines, a number of observers have noted that the Binance settlement in essence may have cleared the decks for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to finally approve a spot bitcoin ETF. The neutering of Binance and exit of CZ, they said, might have eased the agency's concerns regarding overseas manipulation of bitcoin prices.

"With this plea deal, the expectations for a spot Bitcoin ETF might have increased to 100% as the industry will be forced to follow the rules that TradFi firms must follow," wrote crypto services provider Matrixport.

"Binance uncertainty out of the way, its activities will now be monitored by an independent compliance monitor," said economist Alex Kruger. "Waiting for the market to agree with me that this is actually bullish."


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Stephen  Alpher

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's managing editor for Markets. He holds BTC above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.