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A fake bitcoin ETF report causes a $100 million wave of liquidations and a price spike to $30,000

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    A false rumor about a bitcoin ETF approval in the US briefly sent the price of bitcoin soaring. 

    The rumor, circulated via the X account of crypto media outlet Cointelegraph, triggered a $2,000 price surge that prompted sector-wide volatility and resulted in hourly liquidations topping $100 million. 

    The initial tweet was later edited and then deleted shortly after 10 am ET.

    BlackRock told Blockworks that the SEC has not approved its spot bitcoin ETF application.

    “BlackRock’s iShares spot Bitcoin Application is still being reviewed by the SEC,” a BlackRock spokesperson told Blockworks.

    Additionally, sources close to the SEC confirmed to Blockworks that the report from Cointelegraph was false.

    In late September, the SEC delayed its decision on BlackRock’s ETF application, as well as the other bitcoin ETF hopefuls. The delays push any deadline for a decision into January of next year.

    Bloomberg analysis James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas have said that they believe there’s a 75% chance for a spot bitcoin ETF approval by the end of 2023, though both Balchunas and Seyffart were quick to confirm that the Monday morning X post could not be backed up with proof. 

    Immediately following the post, bitcoin surged across trading venues. The Binance BTC/USDT market, which accounts for 8% of BTC 24-hour volume, bitcoin opened at $27,883 at 9 am ET and topped at $30,000 – a 7% candle in roughly a half hour. 

    Source: TradingView

    The volatility was especially frothy for derivatives traders. 

    According to data from Coinglass, $105 million in positions have been liquidated in the last hour, including $73 million in shorts and $32 million in longs. In the past day, 40,000 traders have been liquidated for nearly $180 million. 

    Bitcoin is currently trading at 28,041, down 6.5% from daily highs.

    Updated Oct. 16, 2023 at 10:55 am ET: Added comment from sources close to the SEC.

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