First Mover Americas: Grayscale's Is the First ETF to Begin Trading

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Jan. 11, 2024.

AccessTimeIconJan 11, 2024 at 12:31 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 5:49 a.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter, putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Spot bitcoin ETFs were finally approved in the U.S. after a decade of trying. The Securities and Exchange Commission gave the green light Wednesday to key filings from the markets seeking to list the groundbreaking products. They will begin trading today. Bitcoin's price topped $47,500 following the decision and is now trading around $47,000. About a dozen companies, including BlackRock, Fidelity and Grayscale, sought to create bitcoin ETFs. These are spot ETFs, meaning they hold bitcoin itself, versus the already-approved bitcoin futures ETFs, which hold derivatives contracts tied to BTC. The hotly anticipated products will debut on U.S. markets run by the NYSE, Cboe Global Markets and Nasdaq, aided by major trading firms who plan to provide liquidity.

Grayscale, the manager of GBTC, claimed bragging rights as the first of the newly approved spot bitcoin ETFs to begin trading, a representative for the firm said on Thursday. “I am happy to confirm that GBTC started pre-trading at 4 am EST this morning,” Grayscale’s head of communications, Jennifer Rosenthal, said in an email. The conversion of Grayscale’s $27 billion bitcoin trust into an ETF was approved by the SEC on Wednesday, one of many applicants approved by the U.S. markets regulator.

The spot bitcoin ETF approvals also buoyed ether (ETH) traders, who are betting the token that powers the Ethereum network could be next in line. The ETH price has jumped 10% in 24 hours, while bitcoin added 1.3%. Tokens of layer 2 networks, which operate as individual blockchains but are ultimately built atop Ethereum, surged as well. Arbitrum’s ARB and Mantle’s MNT both gained more than 20%. Other Ethereum ecosystem tokens, ranging from meme coins to those that power Ethereum-based applications, rose 14% on average, the category tracked by CoinGecko shows. “The largest smart money inflows” were directed toward the Ethereum ecosystem in the past 24 hours, Nansen analyst Martin Lee said in a Telegram message. Nansen defines smart money as wallets that trade or invest in a way that is considered experienced or well informed and are usually profitable.

Chart of the Day

  • The chart shows cumulative volume delta in futures tied to ether.
  • Crypto exchange OKX is leading the growth in the CVD followed by Binance to indicate net capital inflows into the market.
  • Ether has surged nearly 10% to $2,650 in the past 24 hours, as traders see the second-largest cryptocurrency as a favourite candidate for a spot ETF approval following bitcoin.
  • Source: Velo Data

- Omkar Godbole

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Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.