Bitcoin breaks US$40,000 as momentum builds


FILE PHOTO: Representation of the bitcoin cryptocurrency and a price chart are seen in this illustration taken October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

TOKYO: Bitcoin has broken above US$40,000 for the first time this year as it rides a wave of momentum on broad enthusiasm about US interest rate cuts and as traders anticipate the imminent approval of US stockmarket traded bitcoin funds.

The world’s biggest currency hit as high as US$40,210 in Sunday trade, its highest since April 2022. It was steady at US$40,011 in thin trade early in Asia day yesterday.

“We’ll see if it sticks throughout the day, but bitcoin loves a break of big psychological levels, so it excites the bit-bugs again and adds to this momentum,” said Capital.com analyst Kyle Rodda.

For the year, bitcoin has more than doubled as it has thrown off the doldrums of the so-called “crypto winter” that followed scandals, including the collapse of the exchange FTX last year.

Riskier investments and other interest rate-sensitive assets, such as gold, have also rallied hard over the last few weeks as markets wager that the US Federal Reserve has finished hiking rates and will start cutting early in 2023.

Reports in October that the US Securities and Exchange Commission won’t appeal a court ruling that found the agency had been wrong to reject an exchange-traded fund application from crypto firm Grayscale Investments have also driven bets that an eventual approval is nigh.

A spot bitcoin ETF, the argument goes, would allow previously wary investors access to crypto via the stock market, ushering a new wave of capital into the sector.

Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, also made a 1½ year high on Sunday, hitting US$2,218.

Both bitcoin and ether remain well below their 2021 record highs of above US$60,000 and US$4,000, respectively. — Reuters

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