Talks of bitcoin spot ETF approval circulate as India blocks exchange sites and crypto is seeing more optimism

Welcome back to Chain Reaction. Wouldn’t a bitcoin spot ETF approval be nice?
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Welcome back to Chain Reaction.

Happy New Year! The crypto space has been off to a strong start for 2024 as reporters and ETF analysts have reported that a bitcoin spot ETF approval in the U.S. could be coming as soon. As a result, bitcoin’s price went over $45,000 on Tuesday, hitting its highest level since April 2022. It has since retracted slightly to $44,000 at the time of publication. The total cryptocurrency market capitalization is growing at $1.68 trillion, the highest level since May 2022.

In other news, Financial Intelligence Unit, an Indian government agency, said last Thursday that it has issued a notice to nine global crypto exchanges — including Binance, Kraken, Kucoin and Mexc — that they are allegedly operating “illegally” in the country and have blocked their websites. More details below.

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This week in web3

Crypto optimism in the age of the doomer
India to block crypto exchanges Binance, Kraken websites
Love ’em or hate ’em, NFTs can survive thanks to the communities that drive them (TC+)
Crypto losses declined over 50% in 2023 (TC+)
Hackers stole $2 billion in crypto in 2023, data shows
Why I’m modestly crypto-bullish in 2024 (TC+)
Why Puma is sticking to its web3 bets as crypto shakes off a long winter (TC+)

The latest pod

For this week’s news episode, Jacquelyn dove back into the latest developments on spot bitcoin ETF applications in the U.S. as anticipation builds.

Fred Thiel, the CEO of Marathon Digital Holdings, a digital asset technology company and largest publicly traded bitcoin mining firm, joined to help break down the latest developments on spot bitcoin ETFs.

As it stands, there are 14 asset management firms, including BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale and VanEck, hoping to individually win approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for their spot bitcoin ETFs. And some reports are now saying it might happen soon given the frequent meetings and updated filings in recent weeks.

We also discussed what a spot bitcoin ETF could mean for investors, institutions and miners, as well as bitcoin’s price.

Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!

Follow the money

Arkon Energy raises $110 million to grow U.S. bitcoin mining capacity, launch AI cloud service in Norway
Web3 gaming company Portal closed a strategic round for an undisclosed amount
Lending platform Tonka Finance raised $2.5 million in funding
Animoca Brands invested into racing esports startup Veloce in pre-IPO funding round

This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.

What else we’re writing

Want to branch out from the world of web3? Here are some articles on TechCrunch that caught our attention this week.

23andMe tells victims it’s their fault that their data was breached
I guess I’m a projector person now?
Remembering the startups we lost in 2023
No, spiders don’t want to mate with your viral body butter
More than 40 investors share their top predictions for 2024 (TC+)

Follow me on Twitter @Jacqmelinek for breaking crypto news, memes and more.



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