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Bitcoin briefly hits an all-time high… or does it? 

According to several media outlets, the king of cryptocurrency broke its USD all-time high – while several others believe November 2021 was still the coin’s peak. 

We’re barely three months in and Bitcoin has already had a 2024 to remember. Spot ETFs were approved for trading in January, the coin burst through $60K in February and a halving event is set to take place in less than fifty days. Not to be outdone by itself, Bitcoin decided to drum up even more momentum and set a new all-time high amid fairly mediocre macroeconomic conditions… at least, according to some. 

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, recorded Bitcoin as reaching USD $69K on Tuesday, surging past its previous ATH from November 2021. This followed a week where BTC had already beaten record-prices in international currencies like ZAR, EUR, GBP and of course, AUD. However, not everyone agreed with Binance. CoinGecko, a prominent market analyst and tool for traders, maintains that BTC’s all-time high still came in November 2021, when the coin’s value hit $69,044.77. So, who’s right, and what gives with the discrepancy? 

Bitcoin is a decentralised currency, meaning there isn’t one authority that determines its value. Therefore, the price of Bitcoin is based almost exclusively on the exchange its traded on. As each exchange has different conditions and independent buyers/sellers, this means that the price of BTC will always be slightly varied across exchanges. So if people on Binance are willing to purchase BTC at $69K, while those on Coinbase are not, we will find a fluctuation in price between the exchanges. 

There’s no real right or wrong answer here. To some, BTC has eclipsed its previous ATH. To others, there’s still a bit of a hike to go. There’s only one way for everyone to reach a consensus – Bitcoin simply has to break through the USD $70K barrier. And given its past few months, it’s hard to bet against this becoming a reality sooner rather than later. 

Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg financial analyst Eric Balchunas, the 11 Bitcoin ETFs available for trade recorded over $10bn in trading volume this Tuesday – a 40% increase on its previous high.  

Memecoins make large gains

Lovers of frogs, dogs and animals with hats are rejoicing after seeing 100% gains in the past week. 

Ahh, memecoins. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the cryptocurrency market. Haters will point to them as proof that digital currencies are pointless, while lovers will maintain they are an integral cultural institution that is at the core of the crypto community. No matter which side of the fence you sit on, there’s no denying that on their good days, memecoins can make you a very happy speculator. 

Let’s be clear. Most memecoins do a fat lot of nothing. Their utility is essentially zero outside of potentially being used as a means to tip small amounts of money to content creators. They are the embodiment of hype and passion in the crypto industry. But this tends to mean that when they gain traction, they gain serious traction.  

The past week has seen a smattering of memecoins pop off like it’s 2021. Dogecoin, the leader of the pack, has increased in value nearly 100% over the past month, even accounting for a 20% slide in the last week. 

Its canine brethren, Shiba Inu (up 186%), Bonk (up 56%) and dogwifhat (up 114%) have all posted incredibly impressive gains in the last week. And frog-associates fear not – Pepe is up 114% in the same timeframe. 

Coinbase crashes twice amid market rally 

Intense spikes in trading volume caused the popular US exchange to bug out on multiple occasions. 

Let me paint a nightmare for you. You’ve responsibly been dollar-cost averaging into Bitcoin and other crypto assets for the best part of five years. Your portfolio has experienced substantial growth to a very respectable figure. You hear about Bitcoin’s current run and decide to log in to see how its affected your holdings. You click on your Coinbase wallet and see the balance has been reduced to a big, fat zero. Unfortunately for many, this nightmare became a reality last week as an exchange-wide bug caused Coinbase to incorrectly show wallet holdings as empty. 

This was nothing more than a visual error – the accounts hadn’t actually been drained. However, it did prevent traders from liquidating their assets and capitalising on BTC’s run (if they wanted to sell), which is a big deal for many. 

And to make matters worse, another huge day of trading caused even more issues with the Coinbase servers. This one wasn’t as alarming – Coinbase users encountered an error when transacting on the platform. Typically, the error was resolved if the traders simply tried to run the transaction again. Still, it was no doubt another inconvenience for customers who were still reeling from the bug last week.  

In short, it hasn’t been the best fortnight for Coinbase. 

SEC defers decision on Spot Ethereum ETF to May 

In a move that surprises absolutely nobody, the SEC has once again pushed back Fidelity and BlackRock’s ETF applications.  

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the leader in the United States financial regulatory space. Therefore, they – rather unfortunately – have a big say in how the crypto world integrates with the traditional financial market. The approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF was a long time coming, and had many salivating at the potential of future funds for other crypto assets. Institutional giants BlackRock and Fidelity were quick off the mark, submitting applications for an Ether ETF in November 2023. 

However, the SEC has once again delayed making a decision on approving an Ethereum ETF, pushing the date back to a potential May 23 deadline. Although at face value this may seem like a negative for the industry, Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart believes it may be cause for optimism. In fact, the prominent financial commentator had been warning the community to expect these delays since way back in January.  

So how could this be a positive? Well, the SEC has now put the onus on public experts to weigh on whether they believe an Ether ETF could be subject to market manipulation, and if they would hold up similarly to the recently approved Bitcoin ETF. Once this phase of the process is complete, the SEC will likely engage in a back-and-forth with institutions like BlackRock to fine-tune their applications. 

The SEC keeps their cards close to the chest. So, if they are directly engaging with applicants, it’s not exactly an indication that an Ether ETF approval is on the horizon. However, the community is remaining positive.  

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