Bitcoin Hits Record $72,000, Emboldening Crypto Industry


The price of Bitcoin hovered around $72,000 on Tuesday, extending a rally that has helped mint a new crop of crypto billionaires.

The cryptocurrency has climbed by more than 50 percent since the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the first Bitcoin exchange traded funds in January, bringing a wave of mainstream investors into crypto trading.

Coinbase, a Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange, has seen its stock surge alongside Bitcoin this year. The company is pushing for more favorable treatment by regulators, suing the S.E.C. and accusing it of “capricious” behavior. It said in its suit that the agency has shirked its responsibility to write clear rules on how the industry should operate.

Tough tactics have worked before. Grayscale Investments, a digital asset manager, sued the S.E.C. last year after the regulator denied its application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. A panel of judges agreed that the agency acted arbitrarily, a ruling that paved the way for the approval in January of new Bitcoin funds.

The industry is also flexing its political muscle. Coinbase and others backed a network of well-funded political action committees that some believe played a role in felling Representative Katie Porter, Democrat of California, a crypto-skeptic who lost her race to be the party’s nominee for the Senate.

The sector is now looking at new targets to boost, or topple. “The crypto advocacy community is feeling pretty good right now,” said Kristin Smith, chief executive of the Blockchain Association, a trade group. “For the first time since Bitcoin was created 15 years ago, we have the tools in place, on the policy front and the political front.”

The sector got another shot in the arm on Monday when Travis Hill, vice chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, called on regulators to ease restrictions on how banks handle customers’ digital assets.



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