Bitcoin.

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The price of bitcoin shot above the $54,000 level on Monday after waking up from a week of tepid trading.

The flagship cryptocurrency was last higher by 5% at $54,460.00, according to Coin Metrics. At its session high, bitcoin hit $54,965.26 and reached its highest level since December 2021.

“Today is settlement day for bitcoin futures, which is contributing to the price jump we’re seeing,” said Ryan Rasmussen, analyst at Bitwise Asset Management. “We’re approaching the window where we typically see traders positioning themselves ahead of the bitcoin halving, which will happen in the second half of April. I suspect this is the day people start rolling into bullish positions pre-halving.”

Most of the crypto market got a lift from bitcoin. Ether gained more than 2% to trade at $3,173.87. Solana added more than 5%, and Cardano’s ADA token advanced about 4%. Polygon’s MATIC token rose 8%.

Crypto-related equities surged. Coinbase and Microstrategy leapt 16%. Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital, the largest bitcoin miners, soared 15% and 20%, respectively.

Bitcoin traded flat in the week leading up to Monday, when the breakout began, and put it on track for a 27% monthly gain.

“Bitcoin has been hovering around $52,000 for the past two weeks and looking for an opportunity to break out,” said Owen Lau, analyst at Oppenheimer, who cited positive idiosyncratic developments in crypto regulation and increasing retail participation.

In a recent note, JPMorgan’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou pointed out that after taking a pause in January, retail appetite for crypto rebounded in February and has been a significant driver of the upward price action. He pointed to three key catalysts that help explain the renewed retail interest: the bitcoin halving and Ethereum’s next tech upgrade — both of which JPMorgan sees as priced in — and the potential approval of spot ether ETFs.

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