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Bitcoin ETF finally begins trading

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The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF began trading at $40 a share under the ticker symbol “BITO” and finished the day up 5%. The ProShares fund is the first of what is expected to be several ETFs that track bitcoin futures to debut on Wall Street.

VanEck, Invesco, Valkyrie and Galaxy Digital are among several investment firms that have applied with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch bitcoin ETFs.

Prices topped $64,000 Tuesday afternoon, up from just below $44,000 at the end of September, a more than 40% surge.
This could make bitcoin bigger than ever

Bitcoin is now within 1% of its all-time high of a little less than $65,000 earlier this year.

“The ETF approval is a watershed moment for the industry,” Bitcoin Foundation chairman Brock Pierce said in a statement to CNN Business. “This moment is long-awaited, as numerous entrepreneurs and firms have sought approval from regulators since as early as 2013.”

“Today begins an era where retail investors can invest directly into Bitcoin through the ETF, and serves as further validation of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies across the country and on a global basis,” Pierce added.

Making bitcoin more available to the masses

Bitcoin bulls argue that having an ETF will make it easier for average investors to take part in the crypto market, without having to mine bitcoin themselves.

“We believe a multitude of investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts to launch one,” ProShares CEO Michael Sapir said in a statement Monday.

“BITO will open up exposure to bitcoin to a large segment of investors who have a brokerage account and are comfortable buying stocks and ETFs, but do not desire to go through the hassle and learning curve of establishing another account with a cryptocurrency provider,” Sapir said.

It’s important to note that the ProShares ETF — as well as any others that may get SEC approval going forward — invests in bitcoin through futures contracts. That means that investors buying into the fund will not own any actual bitcoin.

But another asset manager, Grayscale, announced plans Tuesday to file to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which was mainly geared towards high net worth accredited investors, into an ETF that would hold bitcoin at its spot (or market) price.

“We believe that if regulators are comfortable with ETFs that hold futures of a given asset, they should also be comfortable with ETFs that offer exposure to the spot price of that same asset,” Dave LaValle, global head of ETFs at Grayscale Investments said in a press release. “GBTC proves that there’s strong investor demand for physically-backed bitcoin investment vehicles.”

Still, having any type of bitcoin ETF available could attract more new cryptocurrency investors. Some may have been staying on the sidelines, even though there are now more opportunities to trade cryptocurrencies through firms such as Coinbase or Robinhood.

“The availability of a Bitcoin futures ETF is a big step for bitcoin awareness and regulation for the crypto industry,” Christine Brown, chief operating officer at Robinhood Crypto, said in an email to CNN Business. “After the SEC previously rejected several applications for these types of funds, the ETF going live on brokerages opens the door for a new group of investors.”



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FreshKorn Cryptocurrency

Stocks rebound after Omicron plunge

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Reports of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus brought back memories of last summer when the fast-spreading Delta variant put a dent in the recovery and consumer confidence. This spooked investors on a traditionally quiet day in the market following Thanksgiving, leading to one of the worst days for stocks this year.
The Dow (INDU) logged its worst day since October 2020, while the S&P 500 (SPX) had its worst performance since February. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) recorded its steepest fall since September.

But just as the market quickly bounced back from its Delta fears, history appears to be repeating itself: Investors are taking a breath and sensing a buying opportunity.

The market opened in the green, with all three indexes sharply higher. The Dow opened up 375 points, or 1.1%, while the S&P rose 1.2%. The Nasdaq was 1.5% higher.

Other asset classes that were battered Friday — notably oil and cryptocurrencies — also recovered.

US oil prices were up 6.7%, or almost $5, at $72.69 per barrel around the time of the stock market open. That doesn’t totally make up for Friday’s drop, but it takes back a chunk of it.

The global oil benchmark Brent was up 5.7% at $76.84 per barrel.

Bitcoin was up more than 5%.

“Investors are trying to make sense of the latest Omicron Covid strain, but at this point more seems to be unknown than known,” said analysts at Bespoke Investments. “Clouding things even more, we’re unlikely to have definitive answers in the immediate future.”



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FreshKorn Cryptocurrency

Stocks tumble as fears over new Covid-19 variant grip global markets

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US equities took a dive at the open and continued their downward path in the first half hour of trading, with the Dow more some 900 points lower. Oil prices were also badly hit.

Over the summer, the Delta variant spooked consumers and weighed on sectors like leisure and hospitality. Now investors and economists worry this new variant could do the same.

Wall Street was deep in the red early Friday, with the Dow (INDU) falling 2.5%, or about 900 points, in what is shaping up to be a volatile session. The broader S&P 500 (SPX) tumbled 1.8% and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) opened down 1.3%.

It’s a shortened trading session as the New York Stock Exchange will close at 1 pm ET after being closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. Reduced trading volume during this half-day session is also likely to exacerbate the swings in the market.

Nevertheless, it could shape up to be one of the worst days of the year for stocks.

But it’s not just stocks that are getting a beating.

Oil prices are tumbling as well. US oil futures fell 7.4%, or nearly $6, to $72.51 per barrel around the time of the stock market open. The global benchmark Brent dropped 6.8% to $76.63 per barrel.

The US dollar, measured by the ICE US Dollar Index, which pegs it against its main rivals, was down 0.6% Friday morning.

Cryptocurrencies also felt the heat, dropping across the board. Bitcoin was down nearly 7% around the time of the stock market open, according to CoinDesk data.

Meanwhile, investors are pushing into safe haven investments. The 10-year US Treasury bond got more expensive and yields fell more than 0.1 percentage points to 1.52% Friday morning. Gold prices also jumped.



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FreshKorn Cryptocurrency

‘NFT’ is Collins Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2021, beating out ‘crypto’ and ‘cheugy’

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Written by Jack Guy, CNNLondon

“NFT,” the abbreviation of “non-fungible token,” has been named Word of the Year by dictionary publisher Collins, beating “crypto” and “cheugy” to the top spot.

An NFT is “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible,” according to a blog post from Collins, published Wednesday.

Acting like virtual signatures, NFTs prove the authenticity of an artwork as the blockchain serves as incorruptible proof of ownership, meaning that “original” artworks and their owners can always be identified via the blockchain, even if an image or video is widely replicated.

They also provide scarcity, and as a result the digital art market has been booming.
In March, a digital artwork named “Everydays: The First 5000 days” sold for $69.3 million via Christie’s, making its creator, graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, one of the art market’s most valuable living artists.

The idea of a digital revolution is also captured in another of the dictionary’s candidates for Word of the Year: “crypto,” short for “cryptocurrency,” digital money that is challenging traditional forms of money, according to Collins.

It also named “metaverse” in its blog post, following Facebook’s announcement that it would change its corporate name to Meta.

Other selected words reflect the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with “double-vaxxed” and “hybrid working” making the shortlist.

“Climate anxiety” reflects growing concern about the damage humans are doing to the planet, while “neopronoun” is a way of referring to a person without using their name or traditional markers of gender, such as “he” and “she.” Collins gives “xe,” “ze” and “ve” as examples of neopronouns.

Rounding out the shortlist are “Regencycore,” which is defined as a fashion aesthetic inspired by the Georgian-era clothing seen in the Netflix show “Bridgerton,” and “cheugy,” which is used to say that something is out of date or uncool.

In 2020, Collins named “lockdown” its Word of the Year, for obvious reasons, and, earlier this month, Oxford Languages made “vax” its pick for 2021.

Defined as “a colloquialism meaning either vaccine or vaccination as a noun and vaccinate as a verb,” vax was relatively rare until this year, the company, which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary, said.

In September, vax appeared more than 72 times more frequently than the year before, said Oxford Languages, which analyzes news content to track changes in the English language.



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