US spot bitcoin ETFs begin trading, Circle files for IPO and India continues crypto pullback

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This past week has been all about U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs in the crypto world. Rumors started swirling around last week that approvals were coming, which sources confirmed.

But the road to approval was not a smooth one. On Tuesday, The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s X account was hacked, a spokesperson confirmed with TechCrunch. This was a huge problem because the government’s account put out an “unauthorized” post that the agency granted approval for “bitcoin ETFs.”

The post was up for about 30 minutes, causing a number of news outlets and online personalities to report that the SEC granted approval for the highly anticipated spot bitcoin ETFs. The unauthorized post has since been deleted.

But all’s well that ends well. Fast-forward to Wednesday and the SEC approved the first spot bitcoin ETF applications for 11 issuers (TC+). I spoke with two executives from Grayscale and Valkyrie about what’s in store for their spot bitcoin ETFs.

Read about it here:

Thursday morning trading for the spot bitcoin ETFs began and brought in around $2 billion in total trading volume, VanEck’s head of digital assets research Matthew Sigel said. 

Prior to this, Valkyrie’s co-founder Steven McClurg told TechCrunch he expected about $2 billion to $3 billion in trading volume the first week, so this initial inflow may be signaling that the demand may become bigger than originally anticipated.

Note: Other than the regularly scheduled newsletter bits, I’ll be playing around with some recurring segments and features. Not only that, in the coming weeks, we’ll be retiring the “Chain Reaction” name for something a bit more on the nose: TechCrunch Crypto. So keep an eye out for that!

If there’s something you’d love to see, let me know at

Anyways, that’s enough housekeeping and spot bitcoin ETF news for today. Let’s move on, shall we?

This week in web3

  1. USDC stablecoin issuer Circle files confidentially for an IPO (TC+)
  2. Hestiia wants you to mine for crypto to heat your house
  3. X removes support for NFT profile pictures
  4. Apple pulls Binance, Kraken, other crypto apps from India App Store
  5. Is India done with crypto?
  6. Fox partners with Polygon Labs to tackle deepfake distrust
  7. Logan Paul promises CryptoZoo refunds, as long as you don’t sue him

The latest pod

For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Michael Sonnenshein, the CEO at Grayscale Investments.

Grayscale is a digital asset investment firm that aims to provide products and services to institutional and individual investors, it is well known for its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) and now, its new bitcoin spot ETF product. The company was founded in 2014 and is one of the world’s largest digital asset currency managers. The GBTC fund holds over 3% of the outstanding bitcoin supply, worth tens of billions of dollars.

The firm and its executives have made headlines in the past for their tenacious efforts to get their bitcoin spot ETF approved after it was originally denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June 2022 and later the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of it. And now, Grayscale’s bitcoin spot ETF was approved.

We dive into what a spot bitcoin ETF approval means for GBTC and market demand. We also discussed competition between issuers, fee structures and why regulated bitcoin exposure matters, as well as what a spot bitcoin ETF could mean for the crypto space.

Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!

Follow the money

  1. Hedera-based web3 music startup Tune.FM raised $20 million in strategic round
  2. Liquidity solution startup Eesee raised $2.85 million in seed round
  3. DeFi developer NoahArk Tech Group received $2.4 million from EOS Network Ventures
  4. OORT raised $10 million to focus on its decentralized cloud for privacy and cost savings
  5. Altitude raised $6.1 million in seed round to improve DeFi loans

This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.

What else we’re writing

Want to branch out from the world of web3? Here are some articles on TechCrunch that caught our attention this week.

  1. CES 2024: Everything revealed so far, from Nvidia and Sony to rabbit’s pocket AI and the weirdest reveals
  2. CES 2024: The weirdest tech, gadgets and AI claims from Las Vegas
  3. Funding for female founders remained consistent in 2023 (TC+)
  4. Explained in 5 charts: Venture capital in 2023 (TC+)
  5. Meta faces another EU privacy challenge over ‘pay for privacy’ consent choice

Follow me on Twitter @Jacqmelinek for breaking crypto news, memes and more.

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