With hope surrounding the potential licensing of exchange-traded spot bitcoin funds, the world’s largest cryptocurrency kicked off the New Year with a bang as Bitcoin surged beyond $45,000 on Tuesday for the first time since April 2022.

With its highest year performance since 2020, Bitcoin gained 156% last year and reached a 21-month high of $45,532. It is still far from the record high of $69,000 it achieved in November 2021, even though it was up 2.5% at $45,318 as of late.

After rising 91% in 2023, ether, the token associated with the Ethereum blockchain network, was 1.45% higher at $2,386 on Tuesday.

The main concern among investors has been whether the U.S. securities regulator will soon authorize a spot bitcoin ETF, which would attract billions of dollars in investments and open up the bitcoin market to millions more people.

In recent years, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has denied many requests to introduce spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), citing concerns about market manipulation.

However, there have been more indications in recent months that authorities are ready to approve at least some of the 13 planned spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It is anticipated that the decision will be made in early January.

If all goes as planned, the obvious question is whether this will lead to a sell-on-fact, buy-the-rumor playout or if it will go a further leg higher.

Growing expectations that major central banks will lower interest rates this year have also helped cryptocurrencies recover, dispelling some of the pessimism that had enveloped the market after FTX’s collapse and other 2022 crypto-business flops.

This year, the crypto industry is expected to increase significantly, mostly because to the inflow of investment capital from spot ETFs, the halving of Bitcoin, and more accommodating monetary policies globally and in the US.