Bitcoin Pushes Near $19K For First Time Since FTX Collapse

Quiet for most of the session following this morning's in line inflation report, an early afternoon advance has brought bitcoin (BTC) to $18,800, up 7% for the day and it's highest level since it was gapping down in early November as crypto exchange FTX imploded.

With today's gain, bitcoin is now up about 14% thus far in 2023 as it looks to recover from the 2022 bear market.

Moving alongside is crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN), up 4% today and now ahead 35% year-to-date. The moves in the miners are even more dramatic: Marathon Digital (MARA) is up 16% today and 83% year-to-date, with peers like Riot Platforms (RIOT) and Hut 8 Mining (HUT) showing similarly-sized gains.

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) – whose discount to net asset value (NAV) widened to nearly 50% towards the end of 2022 – is up 12% for the session, and has now narrowed its discount to NAV to 36.4%. Michael Saylor's MicroStrategy (MSTR) – the owner of more than 130,000 bitcoin – is ahead 5.5% today and 42% year-to-date.

Earlier on Thursday, the government reported the U.S. CPI as having fallen to 6.5% in December from 7.1% the previous month, in line with economist forecasts, and likely paving the way for the U.S. Federal Reserve to ratchet down its pace of rate hikes to 25 basis points per meeting from 50 in December (and 75 prior to that).

Speaking with CoinDesk, Swan Bitcoin Managing Director Steven Lubka said he expects inflation numbers to continue to soften in the first half of 2023, which should give the Fed room to somewhat soften its stance. Lubka, however, is concerned that CPI prints in the second half of the year may not be so benign, and the central bank could find itself in a difficult spot with a softening or even recessionary economy alongside rising inflation.