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Cryptocurrencies head for a winning week, bitcoin nears $30,000 on ETF optimism and flight to safety

Bitcoin extended its weekly gains on Friday, briefly topping $30,000 at one point, as confidence a spot bitcoin ETF will soon be greenlit grew and crypto investors continued weighing uncertainty in the U.S. and abroad.

The price of the flagship cryptocurrency was recently up 3.4% on Friday to $29,709.69, according to Coin Metrics. It’s on pace for a 11% weekly gain, its best since June 23 when it added 17%. Earlier, it climbed as high as $30,193.87. Ether added 3% to $1,616.17 on the day and was up 4.3% for the week. That puts it on pace for its best week since Sept. 29, when it gained 4.4%. On Friday, Ether rose to a high of $1,630.03.

The gains come even as the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield briefly topped 5% for the first time in 16 years. Higher yields historically have had a negative effect on bitcoin, but the crypto asset is benefiting from a key catalyst investors have been watching all year: the approval of what would be the first spot bitcoin ETF in the U.S. Earlier this week, JPMorgan said the Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to approve an ETF in the next few months. Mike Novogratz, whose Galaxy Digital has an ETF application with the SEC in partnership with Invesco, told CNBC he thinks it could happen as soon as the end of the year.

Several firms have also amended their filings in the past couple weeks to address earlier concerns by the SEC, which investors are taking as a positive sign that the agency is engaging with the firms.

Throughout the week, bitcoin has also been driven by a flight to safety.

“Fears of an escalation in the Middle East conflict, nervousness about the U.S. banking system and overall market tension are pushing bitcoin and gold higher,” said Noelle Acheson, economist and author of the “Crypto is Macro Now” newsletter. “Plus, the public support for this narrative from renowned investors such as Larry Fink and Paul Tudor Jones doesn’t hurt.”

In the rest of the market, altcoins climbed after the SEC Thursday night dropped claims against two Ripple Labs executives – CEO Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder Chris Larsen – in its lawsuit alleging the company violated U.S. securities law.

“Many are – mistakenly, perhaps – taking the SEC’s dismissal of its case against [them] as a sign that the regulatory heat will ease,” Acheson said. “This is unlikely to be the case, unfortunately, as by canceling the trial scheduled for next April, the SEC can now appeal the original ruling. I don’t know for sure that it will do this, but in theory it can.”

Ripple’s XRP jumped 5.8%. Litecoin added more than 3%, Ethereum competitors Solana and Polygon saw their tokens rise 7% and 4%, respectively. All are on track to post a positive week.

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