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  • The bitcoin ETF boom is the cryptocurrency’s “IPO moment,” Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan said.
  • “It’s in a new era of price discovery, and I think prices could go substantially higher from here.”
  • While buyers include retail investors, independent advisors, and hedge funds, more demand may be coming.

Since the start of 2024, the spot bitcoin ETF hype has driven the cryptocurrency up 40%, and the latest rally back toward all-time highs could be a watershed moment for the crypto, according to Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan. 

“This has been bitcoin’s IPO moment,” Hougan said on CNBC. “It’s in a new era of price discovery, and I think prices could go substantially higher from here.”

Bitwise has its own bitcoin ETF that was one of nearly a dozen approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission at the beginning of January. 

Bitcoin is trading around $63,000 on Thursday, edging closer back to all-time highs of $69,000. On Monday, technical analyst Katie Stockton said the currency still has a 22% upside ahead.

Spot bitcoin ETFs, which allows investors to gain exposure to bitcoin without owning it, have attracted strong interest since their debut, with inflows surging since bitcoin’s latest rally kicked off this month. BlackRock’s ETF drew $520 million in a single day this week, the second-largest ever influx into a US ETF. 

“I think there’s an even bigger wave coming in a few months as we start to see the wirehouses turn on,” Hougan said.

The biggest buyers are retail investors, Hougan said, while independent advisors and hedge funds have also shown strong interest. 

“The supply-demand dynamic is just off the hook,” he added.

This week, 30,000 tokens were purchased through the ETFs, while bitcoin miners have produced less than three thousand, Hougan said. That mismatch between supply and demand could drive the price of bitcoin to as high as $200,000. The halving event scheduled for April 2024 will also drive scarcity. 

The bitcoin ETF craze has spilled over into other crypto assets. Excitement for a possible ether ETF has driven the token’s gains by even more than bitcoin’s so far this year.

“I think there’s a good chance we’ll see [an ether ETF approval] by the end of this year,” Hougan said.

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