The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Bitcoin, has broken through the key $30,000 level for the first time in 10 months.
This milestone follows steady gains in recent months as investors increasingly bet that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon end its aggressive monetary tightening campaign.
Bitcoin peaked at $30,438 in Asian trade and was last up 1.4% at $30,070. It has gained nearly 6% since the start of the month, after rising 23% in March.
Investment adviser at Enigma Securities, Joseph Edwards, said, “There were some expectations of a potential miss on NFP on Friday, and that’s bolstered confidence coming into CPI.”
Investors are now eagerly awaiting a U.S. inflation report on Wednesday to assess the Fed’s next steps after banking sector turmoil in March raised expectations that the central bank would let up on rate hikes to ease the stress on the sector.
Boosting the case for rate hikes, however, Friday’s closely-watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls report showed that employers maintained a strong pace of hiring in March, pointing to a still-resilient economy.
Crypto investment products attracted $57 million in inflows last week, with most of the money focused on Bitcoin, according to digital asset manager CoinShares. This brings digital asset flows back into positive territory for the year.
The chief investment officer at Astronaut Capital, a Singapore-based crypto asset manager, Matthew Dibb, said, “The market has done a great job at culling all leveraged participants in the past 18 months. If (bitcoin) can survive the week over $30,000, we are going higher.”
The second largest cryptocurrency, Ether, stood near last week’s roughly eight-month peak of $1,942.50. It was last up 0.5% at $1,920.40.
Crypto investors are eagerly anticipating a major revamp to the Ethereum blockchain on Wednesday that is set to allow them to gain access to more than $33 billion of ether currency.
The software upgrade, dubbed Shapella, will let market players redeem their “staked ether” – coins they have deposited and locked up on the network over the past three years in return for interest.
Bank of America strategist Alkesh Shah said that while Shapella is not likely to directly drive sell pressure on ether, there could be heightened volatility around the event.