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Close up image of a bitcoin.

Bitcoin has been awash with hype – and criticism – since it was first released in 2009. A recent major decision means the hoopla is likely to roll on.

How big is your FOMO?

It might soon be tested, after the US Securities and Trade Commission (SEC) recently approved the listing and trading of spot exchange-traded funds (EFTs) on stock exchanges across the United States.

That means crypto fans and investors alike can buy bitcoin in places like the New York Stock Exchange sending the price of the world’s first decentralised cryptocurrency soaring and lending the asset an air of credibility.

“The US Securities and Exchange Commission approved 11 applications for bitcoin ETFs, and day one volumes were something like $5 billion, so if that doesn’t smack of FOMO, nothing does,” Charlie Viola, managing director of Pitcher Partners’ wealth division, told the Australian Financial Review.

While the cryptocurrency has been listed on US stock exchanges, Aussie investors will be able to buy and sell spot bitcoin EFTs via Australian brokers such as CommSec.


Façade of the New York Stock Exchange building.

Investors can buy bitcoin in places like the New York Stock Exchange. Credit: David Vives on Unsplash.

Bitcoin Remains ‘Volatile’

But that doesn’t mean everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

SEC chairman Gary Gensler warned against investors rushing out to stock up on crypto, with the corporate watchdog telling the BBC bitcoin was primarily a “speculative, volatile asset”.

“Investors should remain cautious about the myriad risks associated with bitcoin and products whose value is tied to crypto,” Gensler said.

So why such excitement around what would have otherwise been a routine trade announcement?

Probably because there’ll be less barrier to entry, there may be some tax or SMSF benefits… oh and because bitcoin’s value has continued to skyrocket over the past decade.

In February 2014, you could buy one bitcoin for as little as $AU166.

Today, you’ll pay just over $AU63,000 a whopping 37851% increase from 10 years ago! It’s even up more than 174% in just the last 12 months.

But don’t feel bad if you missed the bitcoin bandwagon.

With the cryptocurrency linked to everything from global warming to a bunch of illegal activity, maybe it’s not the worst thing if you kept your digital wallet firmly shut.


Two bitcoins against a backdrop of numbers and graphs.

Bitcoin’s value has skyrocketed. Credit: Kanchanara on Unsplash.

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