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Bitcoin passes all-time high, nears $67K

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CoinDesk Managing Director Emily Parker joins Yahoo Finance to discuss bitcoin's price surge and what might drive the price moving forward.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, there are two reasons the number 67 is an important number. First, it was the year 1967 that Pontiac introduced its very popular Firebird. And then there is the fact that 67,000 is the number that Bitcoin almost hit this morning. It's trading at all-time highs. So to talk about this and what's going on, we bring in Emily Parker, CoinDesk managing director. And it's good to have you here. I mean, it's, I want to say, an all-time high, but everything today for Bitcoin is an all-time high. Is the offering--

EMILY PARKER: This is the all-time high.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Yeah. Is the offering yesterday and now ProShares, that futures ETF, because the initial reports was that demand wasn't so great as had been expected. Is that driving it higher or something else at play?

EMILY PARKER: There are a lot of things at play. So I just want to talk a little bit about the narrative because Bitcoin is a very sentiment driven asset, right? So there are three very important things about this ETF narrative wise. The first is that it's a sign of legitimacy. So there are still a lot of people in the US and around the world that see Bitcoin as shady. They associate it with criminality. And so this is definitely pushing Bitcoin further into the mainstream.

The second-- and this is a related point-- is that it is opening up Bitcoin exposure to a new class of investors, people who are not going to go through the traditional routes of buying Bitcoin, either through a cryptocurrency exchange or some other method.

And the third, it's a sign of some degree of regulatory friendliness from the United States. There's been a lot of concerns recently about what attitude US regulators would be taking toward crypto. And the fact that the SEC greenlit this ETF, even though it's a Bitcoin futures ETF and not a Bitcoin spot ETF, that signals that some degree of acceptance and some admission that Bitcoin is here to stay.

SEANA SMITH: And then, from your perspective, I guess, why was this a safer way to go, just in terms of starting this foray into Bitcoin ETFs? They do this with the futures rather than a physical Bitcoin ETF tied to the actual asset. Why does that make sense?

EMILY PARKER: You know, there's a lot of controversy around that, and some people don't think it actually makes sense. I guess it makes sense from the standpoint of the regulators who decided it. The idea is that because you are not going to be buying Bitcoin itself, and you're buying more kind of an exposure to Bitcoin or exposure to Bitcoin futures, it's safer somehow. You know, there's always been concerns among regulators about the volatility of Bitcoin and about market manipulation. But yeah, some question that assumption that this is a fundamentally safer way to buy Bitcoin.

ADAM SHAPIRO: But not necessarily if you're a crypto fan and anticipating SEC approval for other ETFs, that, OK, open the floodgates, because this actually would signal it's legitimate, as you point out, and now we're going to crack down.

EMILY PARKER: Yeah, I guess that's a real question. I personally don't see it that way. I don't see this as leading towards a crackdown. I see it as the opposite. Sometimes, in the crypto world, people hear the words regulation and they get really nervous. But the truth is, is that regulation is-- and it's an admission that we have to deal with Bitcoin, that regulators have to deal with Bitcoin.

The US has already said that they are not going to ban Bitcoin. I don't think that's on the table. So regulation actually is a way to sort of make Bitcoin work within the system. Now, obviously, not all regulation is helpful, but just the fact that they are regulating it does not necessarily signal a crackdown, in my opinion.

SEANA SMITH: Emily, when you take a look at where the US stands compared to other countries, just in terms of, I guess, who would be the leader when it comes to crypto, is there a clear leader or are there a couple of countries that you think that are really at the forefront of this?

EMILY PARKER: Yeah, I think that there are a couple of countries, more than a couple of countries that are at the forefront of this. You know, I think in the past, most crypto headlines tended to revolve around China or the United States. Now, China has been cracking down on crypto in a pretty intense way. And the US, in some ways, is picking up some of the slack. For example, Bitcoin mining has been moving from China to the US.

Now, as China's cracking down, the US is welcoming its first Bitcoin ETF. So, you know, those two countries are diverging. But there are so many other interesting stories all over the world. For example, in Africa, in Latin America, one really interesting story is happening in Brazil. There was recently a report that said Brazilians acquired $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency this year alone, in 2021 alone. Brazil has also already had a Bitcoin ETF. There were Bitcoin ETFs in Canada. So, you know, the US is only part of the story. It's clearly a very important player, but it is not the only player.