Bitcoin crossed the $40,000 mark for the first time this year on Monday in Asia, bolstered by anticipation of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund approval and bets on U.S. interest rate cuts. The world’s largest cryptocurrency surged more than 4% on Monday in Asia to a 19-month high, and traded as high as $41,520 as of 12.30am ET, based on Coin Metrics data. This is the first time since May 2022 that bitcoin has breached the $40,000 level, according to LSEG. Bitcoin is now up more than 145% from the start of the year. This comes after scandals rocked the market including the collapse of crypto exchange FTX in November last year. Last month, FTX founder Bankman-Fried was found guilty of all seven criminal charges brought against him related to the collapse of his crypto empire. “Now that $40,000 has been revisited for the first time in almost 19 months, $48,000 and $52,000 look to be the next significant lines in the sand,” said Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of digital asset company Nexo. CNBC reported last week that U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials met with representatives from Grayscale, BlackRock and the Nasdaq. In a memo, the SEC said it met with Grayscale on Thursday about the potential conversion of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF. The SEC had previously blocked this move, but Grayscale challenged that decision in court and won.