Bitcoin has surged past $31,000 thanks to a wave of optimism from institutional investors who started eyeing up the asset following a high-profile ETF application and the launch of a new crypto exchange.

The biggest cryptocurrency by market cap was trading for $31,195 at the time of writing, according to CoinGecko. That's a rise of more than 4% in 24 hours and more than 21% in the past seven days.

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Bitcoin last broke past $31,000 in May 2022. At the start of this year, the asset was trading for less than $17,000 per coin.

The pump comes after the world's biggest asset manager BlackRock last week applied to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a spot Bitcoin ETF—something that the regulator is yet to approve.

And earlier this week, EDX Markets—a new digital asset exchange backed by major Wall Street players Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Citadel Securities—launched.

The rally is bringing the rest of the crypto market up: Ethereum, the second biggest digital asset, was up 1.6% in 24 hours, trading for $1,916.

And Bitcoin spin-off Bitcoin Cash is the best performing digital asset in the past day—it's up 32% in 24 hours, trading for $177; the cryptocurrency is up over 60% in the past week.

Another winner is Pepe, a new "meme coin" which has shot up 80% in seven days and is currently priced at $0.00000172.

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The entire cryptocurrency market cap now is worth $1.24 trillion, up 3.1% change in the past 24 hours, according to CoinGecko.

Institutional investors were fast pulling cash out of products as regulatory headwinds kept big money away from the asset class—but sentiment now appears to be changing.

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