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Bitcoin Price Steady at $69K Amid Federal Reserve Concerns and Spot Ether ETF Speculation

Bitcoin prices remained relatively stable on Thursday, trading at $69,418.9 as of 01:21 ET (05:21 GMT), down 0.3% over the past 24 hours. The recent rally in cryptocurrencies, driven by speculation over a potential spot Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF), was tempered by renewed concerns over high U.S. interest rates.

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Fed Rate Concerns Weigh on Crypto

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U.S. rate jitters led to strong overnight gains in the dollar, which exerted pressure on cryptocurrency prices across the board. Bitcoin settled back into a familiar trading range, observed over the past two months, after a brief breakout earlier this week.

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Ether and Spot ETF Speculation

Ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, hovered near its two-month highs achieved earlier this week. It retained much of its gains, fueled by anticipation over the possible approval of a spot Ether ETF for U.S. markets. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to make a decision on the matter as soon as Thursday or Friday.

Ether prices rose slightly over the past 24 hours to $3,776.69, continuing the strong rally sparked by reports that the SEC had asked certain exchanges to refine their filings for spot Ether ETFs. While this development indicated some progress, it did not guarantee approval.

The SEC is set to decide on applications for a spot Ether ETF from VanEck, ARK Investment Management, and seven other issuers. Approval could channel more capital into crypto markets, similar to the impact seen with the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF earlier this year.

Broader Crypto Market Impact

Despite the optimism surrounding the potential spot Ether ETF, broader cryptocurrency markets shed a significant portion of their earlier gains due to heightened fears of prolonged high U.S. interest rates. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s late-April meeting revealed increasing concerns among policymakers about persistent inflation, with some members signaling a readiness to hike rates to control inflation.

Several Federal Reserve officials also warned this week that they lacked confidence in inflation easing towards the 2% annual target. Although the likelihood of another rate hike remains low, persistent inflation could delay the Fed’s plans to reduce rates. High interest rates tend to negatively impact crypto markets, which generally perform better in low-rate, high-liquidity environments.

Altcoin Performance

Altcoins mostly fell on Thursday. Solana (SOL) dropped 2.2%, while XRP declined by 1.2%. Among meme tokens, Shiba Inu (SHIB) fell 0.7%, and Dogecoin (DOGE) lost 0.8%.

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