Bitcoin Tops $20K, Ether Surges to Its Highest Point Since the Merge

Bitcoin surged past the psychologically important $20,000 threshold in Tuesday trading.

The largest cryptocurrency by market value was recently changing hands at $20,134, up more than 4% over the last 24 hours. Bitcoin (BTC) last topped this level on Oct. 6.

Ether (ETH) was in an equally buoyant mood, sprinting past $1,500 at one point, a roughly 10% gain from Monday, same time, and its highest level since Sept. 15. Other major cryptos were also well into the green as investors recovered their appetite for riskier assets. SOL and ADA were recently up more than 11% and 10%, respectively. Popular meme coin DOGE recently rose almost 5%.

The CoinDesk Market Index was up 3.3% in the past 24 hours.

The Tuesday rally stemmed from “a big earnings week that has thus far gone pretty well,” said Riyad Carey, a research analyst at crypto data firm Kaiko.

Crypto prices dovetailed with equity markets that also spiked on positive earnings from a number of global brands, including automotive giant GM and Coca-Cola. The tech-heavy Nasdaq and S&P 500 were up 1.7% and 1.2%, respectively.

In recent weeks, the historically high-volatility bitcoin market has been relatively stable, hovering just above $19,000.

Investors remain focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s ongoing efforts to tame inflation without casting the economy into recession. Last week, they received some encouragement from faint signs the Federal Reserve would hike rates less aggressively early next year than its current diet of 75 basis point increases.

Carey said if the interest rate slowdown happened in December, it could well lead to “a crypto rally, but it's uncertain whether it would lead to another bull market.”

But Tom Dunleavy, a senior research analyst at crypto research firm Messari, said that possible regulation will be more important than short-term interest rate trends. Last week, FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried proposed a set of regulatory guidelines for the U.S.

“Regulation is coming to crypto in the fourth quarter, and that will be the biggest determinant of price and adoption for the next six to 12 months,” Dunleavy said.