Bitcoin surged to kick off 2024, topping $45,000 for the first time since April 2022 as investor confidence in a potential bitcoin exchange-traded fund approval continued to build.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency hit an intraday high of $45,913.30 early Tuesday morning, according to Coin Metrics. That was its highest level since April 5, 2022, and the first time it has traded above the $45,000 mark since then. It was last higher by 3%, trading at $45,045.65.

The move comes amid growing excitement among traders that the U.S. could approve the first bitcoin ETF. This would allow investors to buy a product that tracks the price of bitcoin without having to own the cryptocurrency directly, likely appealing to larger institutional investors.

On Friday, BlackRock and other potential issuers updated the registration forms for their proposed bitcoin ETFs, including names of authorized participants. Investors are reading that extra detail as evidence that a decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is coming soon. Many industry experts expect the funds to be approved in January.

The continued price gains for bitcoin come off the back of the bumper of 2023, when the price of the digital coin rose 157% — and many expect the bold rises to continue.

Investors have high hopes for bitcoin in 2024. A decision on an ETF is widely expected to come sometime in January. Shortly after, in the spring, the Bitcoin halving is expected to take place, an event that historically has preceded steep price rises. Plus, Fed officials are anticipating at least three interest rate cuts this year after almost two years of hikes that have hurt the cryptocurrency.

Other cryptocurrencies also rallied overnight into Tuesday. Ether traded at around $2,387, up around 4%, while Solana surged 7% to around $113.

— CNBC’s Jesse Pound contributed to this report.

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Bitcoin tops $45,000 for the first time since April 2022 as crypto rally continues

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