Bitcoin briefly rocketed past $48,000 on Thursday morning for the first time since 2021, as spot Bitcoin ETFs opened for their first day of business on Wall Street.
BTC looked nearly poised to break $49,000 for a moment, touching $48,887 before settling back down to $46,755 at writing, according to CoinGecko. The cryptocurrency is still up 3.1% in the last day, and 7.3% in the last week.
The last time BTC touched such highs was over two years ago, in the final week of 2021—towards the end of the coin’s last bull run.
The price gains are inextricably linked to the massive debut today of eleven spot Bitcoin ETFs, which gained approval Wednesday from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a historic action.
Spot Bitcoin ETFs allow traditional financial institutions and investors to gain exposure to BTC without holding cryptocurrency themselves. Within 30 minutes of launch this morning, spot Bitcoin ETFs accumulated $1.2 billion worth of trading volume, according to Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart.
Though the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs has been anticipated for years as a watershed moment that would signal the mainstream legitimization of Bitcoin, analysts were mixed as to whether the event would hurt or help BTC’s price. Many experts predicted that the approval would trigger a “sell the news” event that would negatively impact the coin, at least in the short term.
A few false starts appear to have prevented that outcome. Last week, an ominous report from Matrixport prophesying the rejection of all spot Bitcoin ETF applications rattled BTC’s price, leading to the liquidation of many long positions on the coin. Then, on Wednesday, a hacker infiltrated the SEC’s Twitter account to post an announcement claiming all spot Bitcoin ETFs were approved, leading traders to “sell the news”—despite the news being fake.
All in all, the chaos appears to have helped BTC, clearing the way for the coin to rise unabated on positive post-ETF buzz.
Edited by Andrew Hayward