Bitcoin surges amid ETF speculation, reaching 18-month high

Bitcoin, the world’s leading cryptocurrency, continued its surge on Tuesday, reaching $35,198, its highest level in 18 months. This rally has been propelled by mounting speculation in the market that the approval of an exchange-traded bitcoin fund (ETF) is imminent.

Tuesday’s surge of 6% followed a substantial 10% increase on Monday, marking Bitcoin’s best performance in almost a year. This bullish momentum rippled across the broader cryptocurrency market, influencing related stocks positively.

Analysts and investors are closely monitoring the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for any decision regarding the approval of a bitcoin ETF. The approval of such a fund, which would allow investors to access Bitcoin through traditional stock markets, is anticipated to significantly boost demand for the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, known for its volatility, has doubled in price since the beginning of the year. Currently, it is up by 3.2% at $34,129. In tandem with Bitcoin, Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, reached its highest value since August, reflecting the overall positive sentiment in the crypto market.

Shares of companies closely associated with the cryptocurrency industry, such as Coinbase Global and MicroStrategy, experienced significant gains in after-hours trading. Moreover, investment giant BlackRock, alongside several major U.S. financial firms, has pending applications for bitcoin ETFs.

Speculation regarding the approval of these ETFs was fueled by BlackRock’s iShares ETF appearing on the website of the clearinghouse DTCC. However, the reasons for its listing and when it occurred remain unclear, as both DTCC and BlackRock refrained from immediate comments.

Anticipation in the market grew following reports suggesting that the SEC might not appeal a court ruling stating it was wrong to reject an ETF application from crypto firm Grayscale Investments. “The SEC being pressured by the courts increases the probability of an ETF approval,” noted Geoffrey Kendrick, Standard Chartered’s Head of Digital Assets Research.

Last week, BlackRock dispelled an erroneous report claiming that its ETF had already been approved. As the market awaits the SEC’s decision, data from crypto derivatives analysis site Coinglass indicates substantial short-covering in Bitcoin trades over the last 24 hours.