The bitcoin (BTC) price started 2024 on a roll, adding more than 7% in 24 hours to approach $46,000, the highest level since April 2022, in a strong start to the new year.

As has been the case for the past several weeks, anticipation that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will greenlight a number of spot bitcoin ETFs appears to be the catalyst for the move higher. A Reuters report over the weekend suggested the regulatory agency could begin notifying ETF sponsors as soon as Tuesday that their applications were to be approved.

Traditional-finance heavyweights such as BlackRock and VanEck are among the 13 companies in the race – and the move could fuel buying pressure for bitcoin in the coming months as the first regulated spot bitcoin product in the U.S., traders expect. Still, market commentators and analysts remain mixed on the impact of ETF approval.

“Some analysts from cryptocurrency trading platforms believe that even if the ETF is approved, Bitcoin may not immediately experience a significant rally,” Ryan Lee, chief analyst at Bitget Research, said in an email. “There are also some optimistic views, such as influential trader Scott Melker predicting that Bitcoin could surge to $54,000 in the next few days once the SEC approves the ETF. Matrixport predicts that BTC will rise to $50,000 within a month after passing the BTC spot ETF in January.”

Bitcoin burst through $45,000 and was trading recently at $45,707, according to CoinDesk Indices data. Meanwhile, broader crypto markets are on the move higher as well, with ether (ETH) ahead by 4% and solana (SOL) and avalanche (AVAX) up as much as 12%.

UPDATE (Jan. 2, 10:07 UTC): Updates price; adds ether, solana, avalanche in last paragraph.

UPDATE (Jan. 2, 10:37 UTC): Adds analyst quote in fourth paragraph.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.