Bitcoin made a stunning jump in the first half of 2023, touching $30,000 again for the first time in months. Prior to this, in 2022, the world’s largest cryptocurrency plunged more than 60%, and market participants faced a series of notable industry crashes, including Terra, Celsius and FTX. But so far, 2023 has looked very different. Prices rose, and big-name institutions made bold moves into the space — most notably U.S. asset management giant BlackRock’s application to launch a spot bitcoin ETF. Meanwhile, a flurry of regulatory action against crypto industry heavyweights, such as securities lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, has added significant uncertainty to the mix. What’s next for Bitcoin? The digital currency’s strong gains have taken many traders by surprise and signaled a return to volatility for the asset. With bitcoin prices up more than 80% in the first half of 2023, cryptocurrency market watchers told CNBC Pro how they expect the cryptocurrency to perform in the second half of the year. The world’s top digital currency last traded at $30,217.83, according to CoinGecko data. Five market experts responded to CNBC’s questions via email, three of whom said they expect Bitcoin to reach the $50,000 level by the end of 2023. Reaching $50,000? According to Carol Alexander, a professor of finance at the University of Sussex, the cryptocurrency will reach $30,000 by early 2023. Huge buy orders from large holders known as “whales,” along with renewed buying by institutional investors, could push bitcoin’s price to $50,000 — or even $70,000 — by the end of the year, she said. . “If regulators don’t act, institutional buying will be the main driver of Bitcoin’s price rise, which could exceed $50,000 by the end of the year, and even reach a new ALT (all-time high) around $70,000,” she told us. CNBC Pro via email. “But if regulators, especially the SEC, do a good job of policing Binance and other centralized exchanges, such as crypto options exchange Deribit, prices could end up below $50,000.” Her price prediction was supported by Standard Chartered UK Bank’s response. Geoff Kendrick, head of digital asset research at Standard Chartered, said he was optimistic bitcoin would jump to that level, citing miners (who have specialized computing equipment to verify transactions on the blockchain) entities) signs of abating sell-off. “In Q1 2023 (latest full dataset), the 12 largest listed miners (20% of total global BTC mining) sold 106% of mined BTC (inventory pushes this number over 100% ). We estimate that this increased slightly to less than 100% in the second quarter,” Kendrick said. “However, if the BTC price rises to around $50,000 (which we expect by the end of 2023), the share of newly mined for sale should drop to 20-30%. This means a net sale of 250,000 BTC per year, which is a large number. Numbers relative to bitcoin market volume.” “We previously predicted this driver would push bitcoin prices up $10,000,” he added. “We now think this estimate is too conservative, so we think there is still room for a target of around $100,000 by the end of 2024.” Antoni Trenchev, CEO of encryption lending company Nexo, told CNBC that he “would see Bitcoin reach $40,000 by the end of 2023.” To $50,000, he wouldn’t be surprised.” Trenchev said a major potential catalyst for further bitcoin gains would be if the Fed sends a strong signal to markets that it plans to end its tightening cycle. Investors’ “Conviction” CNBC Pro’s two remaining respondents were hedge fund manager Mark Mobius of Mobius Capital Partners and venture capitalist Tim Draper of Draper Associates. Mobius said he expects bitcoin to climb to $40,000 by the end of 2023, citing investor “confidence” in the digital currency. Draper did not make a year-end prediction for Bitcoin, but said he believes it will top $250,000 by the end of 2024, continuing his previous forecast for Bitcoin to reach that level by mid-2022. Another thing that is closely watched is the possible approval of a Bitcoin ETF. BlackRock first filed to launch an iShares bitcoin trust in June, and Fidelity followed suit two weeks later. WisdomTree, VanEck and Invesco have also taken steps to establish their own funds. However, the SEC has yet to approve any agreement, and many do not expect that to happen in 2023. — CNBC’s Kevin Schmidt contributed to this report.