In a Manhattan courtroom this month, the cryptocurrency industry faced a reckoning as its onetime star, Sam Bankman-Fried, was convicted of fraud in a trial that put the industry’s excesses on vivid display.
But the ever-volatile crypto markets were already moving on.
Shortly before Mr. Bankman-Fried’s verdict landed on Nov. 2, the price of Bitcoin surpassed $35,000, its highest level since an industry meltdown in 2022. Last week, Ether, the second-most-popular digital currency, surged 10 percent to around $2,100, its best performance in months. Some investors rushed to declare the end of the so-called crypto winter of falling prices and financial scandals that have plagued the industry for the last 18 months.
Driving the renewed euphoria? A potential new fund.
Crypto investors are growing optimistic that the Securities and Exchange Commission will approve an exchange-traded fund, or E.T.F., that tracks the price of Bitcoin, analysts said. The fund would trade on traditional stock exchanges and offer an easy way for people to invest in cryptocurrencies, potentially bringing a wave of money into the industry.
Some proponents have hailed the possibility of this new investment vehicle, known as a spot Bitcoin E.T.F., as crypto’s “salvation.” In August, Grayscale Investments, a crypto asset manager, scored a legal victory over the S.E.C. that seemed to pave the way for it to offer the Bitcoin product. And last week, BlackRock, a giant money manager, filed paperwork to establish a similar E.T.F. to track the price of Ether.