Bitcoin Pushes Through $50K for First Time Since Late 2021

The world's largest crypto has now more than recovered since tumbling below $40,000 in the initial days following the opening of the spot ETFs.

AccessTimeIconFeb 12, 2024 at 5:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 9:24 p.m. UTC

After a brief stumble following the Jan. 11 launch of the spot ETFs, the bitcoin (BTC) bull market begun in January 2023 has entered the FOMO stage, with the price breaking out above $50,000 for the first time in more than two years.

Even as the new spot ETFs took in billions of dollars in their first weeks of trade, investor attention appeared to be focused on the billions leaving the high-fee Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), and the price of bitcoin tumbled to as low as $38,500 just days after the ETFs opened for business.

The action of the past couple of weeks though has seen slowing outflows out of GBTC, while sizable inflows have continued into the new products. On Feb. 8, Grayscale shed just 1,850 bitcoin, while the other nine ETFs added nearly 11,000 tokens to their funds. Then on Feb. 9, Grayscale lost 2,252 coins, while the other nine ETFs added more than 13,000. For perspective, just 900 newly mined bitcoin hit the market each day (soon to decline to 450 per day when the Bitcoin halving occurs in April).

Crypto winter ends

The price of bitcoin peaked at about $69,000 in November 2021; 2022 was a disaster amid the implosion of the Terra ecosystem and the disintegration of crypto exchange FTX and its wunderkind founder Sam Bankman-Fried in November 2022, along with a number of other high-profile crypto industry blowups.

Bitcoin closed 2022 at just above $16,000, down about 75% from its all-time high. Many other crypto tokens suffered even larger routs. Alongside the price drops and big-name collapses, layoffs and shop closings were common throughout the industry – a trend that continued throughout 2023.

While 2023 will be remembered as a major bull market period for crypto, the price action for bitcoin was rather lame throughout much of the year. On Oct. 1, bitcoin sat at just $27,000, ahead more than 65% for 2023, but a relatively small recovery considering how high bitcoin had been.

The year's final quarter, though, was characterized by growing confidence the SEC – after years of delays and outright denials of any and all attempts by asset managers to launch a spot bitcoin ETF – was finally going to green light the vehicles in early 2024. The price of bitcoin rose nearly 60% in the 2023's final three months to close the year above $42,000.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Stephen  Alpher

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's managing editor for Markets. He holds BTC above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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