Bitcoin has been on a record-setting spree lately, with the world's largest cryptocurrency jumping to record highs of $41,500 on Friday. The digital coin has rallied nearly 1,000% since a low on March 12, surpassing $20,000 for the first time on Dec. 16 and topping $30,000 on Jan. 2.
Bitcoin's surge this week has brought the market capitalization for the entire cryptocurrency sector to over $1 trillion for the first time ever on Thursday, according to the digital coin data trackers CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko.
In recent weeks, Bitcoin has seen increased demand from institutional, corporate and retail investors as the digital currency offers the potential for big gains amid low yields and negative interest rates. Smaller digital currencies like ethereum and XRP have also traded higher alongside Bitcoin.
This explosion in growth and increased retail investment demand has made many market participants wonder if this will finally be the catalyst that will lead to a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
This week, the investment firm VanEck filed another application to launch a Bitcoin ETF that will trade at the CBOE BZX Exchange. VanEck has notably filed multiple applications for a Bitcoin ETF with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) in the past that were either withdrawn or rejected, but this latest attempt could be successful given the increased acceptance of cryptocurrencies by institutional investors.
VanEck's latest filing does not provide too much detail about the product it wants to launch or any custodian for the ETF. VanEck has used The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation in the past as the custodian for proposed Bitcoin ETFs.
The S.E.C. has not been open to Bitcoin ETFs in the past, and outlined its concerns in a previous letter that it believes cryptocurrency price at underlying digital currency exchanges are often prone to manipulation. The S.E.C. is also concerned that the extreme price volatility that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin experience will harm the ETF's liquidity.
However, VanEck Chief Executive Jan van Eck told CNBC's "ETF Edge" on Monday that he sees some "rays of hope" for an upcoming Bitcoin ETF, like the S.E.C.'s updated guidance on crypto custody, as well as the regulatory approvals of a crypto funds in Canada and Europe last year.
Van Eck believes that Bitcoin will continue to be headlines as more investors become more comfortable with cryptocurrencies. He also thinks that the launch of CoinBase's initial public offering this year will lead to more growth for the sector.
While the U.S. waits for a Bitcoin ETF, there are still plenty of ways to invest in the evolving crypto industry. Fintechs like PayPal
There are also blockchain ETFs, which hold companies that have business operations in the technology or in some way profit from it. Popular blockchain ETFs include Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF