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The First Bitcoin-Linked ETF Is Set to Debut and 6 Other Key Things That Happened in Crypto This Past Week

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The price of bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, surged above $62,000 on Friday after news that the Securities and Exchange Commission would allow the first bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund debut.

Bitcoin extended its rally over the weekend, currently trading at around $61,285, according to Coin Metrics.

That, along with other news, like Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin "worthless" and Coinbase announcing plans to launch an NFT, or nonfungible token, platform, dominated this past week. Here are seven key things that happened in crypto.

1. Jamie Dimon says bitcoin is ‘worthless’

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO, isn't a fan of bitcoin. "I personally think that bitcoin is worthless," Dimon said during an Institute of International Finance event on Oct. 11, CNBC Pro reported.

But, "I don't want to be a spokesperson — I don't care. It makes no difference to me," he continued. "Our clients are adults. They disagree. That's what makes markets. So, if they want to have access to buy yourself bitcoin, we can't custody it but we can give them legitimate, as clean as possible, access."

This isn't a new stance for Dimon. Recently, he told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei that bitcoin has "no intrinsic value." And although he thinks bitcoin will be around long term, "I've always believed it'll be made illegal someplace, like China made it illegal, so I think it's a little bit of fool's gold."

Dimon also told VandeHei that he thinks "regulators are going to regulate the hell out of it."

2. Coinbase is launching a marketplace for NFTs

On Tuesday, Coinbase announced it is planning to launch an NFT marketplace that would allow users to mint, or blockchain verify, collect and trade NFTs.

NFTs are digital assets represented by code on a blockchain. Each NFT can be bought and sold, just like a physical asset, but the blockchain allows for the ownership and validity of each to be tracked. 

Coinbase said that users can now sign up for a waitlist for early access to its NFT marketplace, called Coinbase NFT.

3. The U.S. is officially the top destination for bitcoin miners

The U.S. is now the No. 1 destination for bitcoin miners, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

New data from the University of Cambridge shows that as of July, 35.4% of bitcoin's hashrate, which is the collective computing power of all miners, is in the U.S., overriding China for the first time.

This comes after China's renewed crackdown on bitcoin mining throughout the year, which pushed the market elsewhere.

Cambridge found that China's average monthly share of the global hashrate in July zeroed out, which is a major reversal from September 2020 when China captured about 67% of the market.

4. Coinbase says the U.S. should create a new cryptocurrency regulator

On Thursday, Coinbase released a new policy proposal, saying that the U.S. should create a new regulator for digital asset markets.

The company said that it wants a "clear and comprehensive approach to regulating digital assets," adding that the U.S. is already "behind" other governments.

Coinbase shared its proposal a day after one of its investors, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, released its own thoughts on how blockchain and digital assets should be regulated.

For more information on Coinbase's policy proposal, take a look at CNBC's breakdown.

5. Tether hit with a $41 million fine

On Friday, Tether, the largest stablecoin issuer, agreed to pay a $41 million fine from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Stablecoins like Tether's token, called USDT, are cryptocurrencies that are supposed to be pegged to or backed by a reserve asset, such as gold or the U.S. dollar.

But in a release, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused Tether of making "untrue or misleading statements and omissions of material fact" when it states that each of its tokens is backed by an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars.

In May, Tether broke down the reserves for its stablecoin and revealed that just 2.9% were in cash. This furthered worries that Tether's issuer doesn't have enough reserves to justify its dollar peg.

Bitfinex, a cryptocurrency exchange and sister company to Tether, was also fined $1.5 million after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused it of conducting "illegal" transactions and operating as a futures exchange without registering.

6. Jack Dorsey says Square may build a bitcoin mining system

Square CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Friday that the company is considering building a "bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon and open source for individuals and businesses worldwide."

Dorsey said that mining, which is the process of solving complex math problems to earn cryptocurrency like bitcoin, should be more distributed, efficient and accessible, rather than concentrated to a few companies.

"Bitcoin mining should be as easy as plugging a rig into a power source," Dorsey tweeted.

This isn't a surprising move for Dorsey, who has both personally and professionally supported bitcoin many times in the past. In August, Dorsey even said he is "trying mining" bitcoin himself.

7. First bitcoin-linked ETF to debut this week

Also on Friday, news spread that the SEC would allow the first bitcoin-linked exchange-traded funds to hit the market.

The first futures-based bitcoin ETF from ProShares will begin trading on the NYSE under the ticker "BITO" on Oct. 19, CNBC reported. Four more futures-based ETF providers are hoping to move forward to trade this month, with Invesco's possibly following ProShares' this week.

A futures-based ETF tracks futures contracts, rather than the price of an asset. As a result, a futures-based bitcoin ETF would track bitcoin futures contracts, not the price of bitcoin itself. 

Though investing in a futures-based bitcoin ETF isn't a direct investment in bitcoin, experts say that the introduction of one is a good sign for the cryptocurrency and its industry overall.

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