Bitcoin hits $50k level for first time in more than two years

Bitcoin hit the $50,000 level for the first time in more than two years as the world's largest cryptocurrency was buoyed by expectations of interest rate cuts later this year and last month's regulatory nod for U.S. exchange-traded funds designed to track its price.

The cryptocurrency has risen some 16.3% so far this year, on Monday touching its highest since Dec. 27, 2021. At 11:31 a.m. EST (1731 GMT), bitcoin was up 5.58% on the day at $50,196.

"$50,000 is a significant milestone for bitcoin after the launch of spot ETFs last month not only failed to elicit a move above this key psychological level but led to a 20% sell-off," said Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto lending platform Nexo.

Crypto stocks also enjoyed a boost on Monday, with crypto exchange Coinbase up 4.86% and crypto miners Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital up 11.9% and 13.7%, respectively. Shares of software firm MicroStrategy -- a notable buyer of bitcoin -- were up 11.7%.

The price of ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, was up 4.08% at $2,606.60.

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