Bitcoin hits new record high, topping $66,000

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Bitcoin notched a fresh all-time high Wednesday as investors cheered the successful launch of the first U.S. bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency climbed more than 4 percent to $66,893.22 by noon ET, topping a previous record of $64,899 set in mid-April.

Bullish comments from a legendary trader also boosted sentiment. Billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones called crypto his preferred inflation hedge over gold.

“Bitcoin would be a great hedge. Crypto would be a great hedge,” Jones told CNBC on Wednesday. “There’s a plan in place for crypto and clearly it’s winning the race against gold at the moment … I would think that would also be in very good inflation hedge. It would be my preferred one over gold at the moment.”

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which tracks bitcoin futures contracts speculating on the future price of the cryptocurrency, rose nearly 5 percent on its first day of trading Tuesday.

Not everyone in the crypto market was impressed. Several bitcoin investors want an ETF that tracks spot prices rather than futures.

Novice investors have had to get to grips with terms like “contango,” where the futures price of a commodity is higher than its spot price, and “backwardation,” which is essentially the opposite.

“More products are great, but I just don’t see the point of investing in futures-based bitcoin ETFs when you can buy the asset in the spot market,” said Jodie Gunzberg, managing director of CoinDesk Indexes.

“It’s not like oil or cattle that is impossible to hold physically for most investors. It’s more like gold that can be easily held. Except the cost is more like oil.”

Still, it’s a landmark for the nascent crypto industry, which has long been pushing for greater acceptance of bitcoin and other digital currencies on Wall Street.

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