Bitcoin tops $40,000 for first time since May 2022 as momentum builds - REUTERS
- Bitcoin and ether hit 2023 highs
- Rate cut and ETF optimism driving gains
- Signs of institutional buyers in November - market maker
LONDON/SINGAPORE, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Bitcoin has broken above $40,000 for the first time since May 2022 as it rides a wave of momentum on broad enthusiasm about U.S. interest rate cuts and as traders bet on the imminent approval of U.S. stock market-traded bitcoin funds.
The world's biggest cryptocurrency hit as high as $41,748 on Monday, its highest since April 2022, seemingly casting off the funk that had settled over crypto markets following the collapse of FTX and other crypto-business failures last year.
It was last up 4% at $41,627. Its 50% rally since mid-October has "seemed to mark a decisive shift away from the bearishness of 2022 and early 2023," said Justin d'Anethan - head of business development for Asia-Pacific at Keyrock, a digital assets market making firm.
D'Anethen said evidence of institutional buying through November showed a new leg of interest and that although reversals ahead were not inconceivable, lows hit around $16,000 a year ago "probably marked the bottom".
Bitcoin is up by over 150% so far this year.
Bitcoin-investor Microstrategy (MSTR.O) last week disclosed it bought an additional $593 million in bitcoin during November.
Advertisement · Scroll to continueReport this ad
Reports in October that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission won't appeal a court ruling that found the agency had been wrong to reject an exchange-traded fund application have also driven bets that an eventual approval is near.
A spot bitcoin ETF could allow previously wary investors access to crypto via the stock market, ushering a new wave of capital into the sector.
Investors have also welcomed the settlement of a years-long U.S. criminal probe into Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange and a key cog in the worldwide crypto market. The deal, which saw Binance founder Changpeng Zhao step down after pleading guilty to breaking U.S. anti-money laundering laws, allows the company to continue operating.
Ether , the coin linked to the Ethereum blockchain network, also rose to a 1-1/2 year high on Monday, hitting $2,264.
Both bitcoin and ether remain far below their record highs, hit in 2021, of $69,000 and $4,868 respectively.
Reporting by Tom Wilson in London, Nilutpal Timsina in Bengaluru and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Additional reporting by Brigid Riley in Tokyo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Sonali Paul, Sam Holmes and Emelia Sithole-Matarise