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.
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."
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.