Up and down. Down and up. Cryptocurrencies can't seem to find a direction this week and the movement depends on the day. Today, the move is positive and there was some relatively good news coming out about the industry.
As of noon ET, Bitcoin (BTC 5.84%) is up 3.9% in the last 24 hours, Ethereum (ETH 2.34%) and Ethereum Classic (ETC 2.56%) are up 8.7%, and Coinbase Global (COIN 7.75%) is up 6.2% after trading as much as 8.1% higher today.
The biggest fundamental news of the day was Ethereum's Shadow Fork 10 taking place early this morning. This is another test ahead of "The Merge," which is expected in September. Another shadow fork is expected on Aug. 10 and will be the third and final major test before The Merge.
Coinbase is bouncing a day after Cathie Wood's Ark Investment Management sold a total of 1.4 million shares in the company across three funds. Shares of Coinbase plunged on Tuesday after reports surfaced the company is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the listing of tokens that may be deemed securities.
Executives at Coinbase fired back at allegations the company listed securities, but the reality is that cryptocurrency operates in a legal grey area. Tokens aren't securities in a company, which is what the SEC normally oversees, but they're not really a currency or a commodity in a traditional sense either. They're new and that's why regulators and companies, even as big as Coinbase, don't know how to operate in this market.
A reality is that Coinbase may be the company that forces regulators and lawmakers in the U.S. to figure out a regulatory framework that makes sense going forward. This is now a trillion-dollar industry and it can't operate in a legal grey area forever.
There will be uncertainty for companies and traders in cryptocurrency for some time as legal battles play out. But leaders in Congress and the White House have taken relatively positive stances for cryptocurrencies, wanting to encourage innovation in the industry. That hasn't translated to laws or regulations, however, which has left a company like Coinbase and some cryptocurrencies in an uncertain position.
I think long-term these issues will be resolved and the industry will get to a more stable regulatory position. But that could take time and some investors, like Ark, aren't willing to take that risk.
For investors who believe in the future of cryptocurrency, clarity from the SEC and a better performing Ethereum blockchain would both be welcome news. It seems that's closer today and that's at least a small part of why stocks and cryptocurrencies are trading higher.