The cryptocurrency market cap rallied to an all-time high on Thursday, briefly rising above $770 billion amidst a widespread altcoin rally. Ethereum played a major role in in this uprise, which itself also reached a new high of $1000.
The cryptocurrency market cap began the day below $650 billion but soon rose $64 billion – a 10% increase – in the last 24 hours.
Bitcoin price also rose as high as $15,428 on Bitfinex, and continues to hold above $15,000 mark. The cryptocurrency is drawing support from the large bet placed by Peter Theil’s Founders Fund. However, increasing concerns regarding South Korea regulation is still keeping a lid on activity.
Bitcoin’s dominance on the crypto market continues to slip away. This shift has followed massive price increases by altcoins such as Ripple, Ether, and Stellar, as well as lesser-known Tron, all of which have posted more than 30 percent gains over the past week.
Ripple in particular has seen a huge market cap growth, with the cryptocurrency moving into second position behind the dominant Bitcoin. The increase in value was largely the result of increased demand on the South Korean market.
Top Stories from the Crypto World
1. Merrill Lynch bans clients from investing in Bitcoin fund
Merrill Lynch, the brokerage arm of Bank of America, has blocked financial advisers and clients from trading in bitcoin-related investments. The ban extends to clients trading in Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust, a fund led by bitcoin entrepreneur Barry Silbert.
The decision to block access to the fund was due to concerns about the “suitability and eligibility standards of this product,” an internal memo circulated to approximately 17,000 advisers states. Recently launched Bitcoin futures are also included in the ban.
Silbert, a former Wall Street investment banker, said:
“We look forward to speaking with Merrill Lynch and addressing any questions or concerns they have about the Bitcoin Investment Trust. We are unaware of any similar policies at other brokerage firms.”
2. China isn’t shutting down Bitcoin miners, says report
Chinese publication Ciaxin is reporting that, contrary to rumors on Wednesday, Chinese authorities haven’t asked Bitcoin miners to shut down their operations in the country.
China is home to nearly two-thirds of the Bitcoin hashrate with mining operations rampant in the Sichuan province and the autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia and Tibet that provide cheap hydroelectricity and cooler temperatures for the energy-intensive process of cryptocurrency mining.
Although, the supposed ‘closed-door’ meeting held on Wednesday between the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and members of a major internet finance regulator, will see authorities move to “standardize” the electricity usage of ‘some’ Bitcoin miners
3. SEC seeks comments on CBOE Bitcoin ETF Filings
The SEC is asking for public comment on two proposed rule changes that, if approved, would lead to the listing of the first-ever Bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds.
Released by the SEC on Dec. 28 and Jan. 2 as a way to solicit public input on the proposals, the new documents make public proposed rule changes put forward by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) that would exempt its proposed Bitcoin ETFs from certain market manipulation rules.
In the documents, Cboe asks for exceptions to the rules because it does not believe Bitcoin can qualify as a commodity at risk of being manipulated under the same rules as some existing ones are, noting that price manipulation would require a bad actor to influence the entire blockchain worldwide.
A good thing to know: To date, the regulatory body has not approved any Bitcoin-based ETFs. As part of the public comment, the SEC will accept both email and written messages for three weeks after the filings are published in the Federal Register.
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