For the first time in history, Bitcoin rose above $10,000 on CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. While Bitcoin’s rise this year has at times been triggered by specific events, such as its increasing popularity in both Japan and South Korea, it seems as if its recent surge above $10,000 can be attributed to investors fearing they’ll miss out on a great investment. According to CryptoCompare, US dollar-bitcoin trading makes up about 20 percent of the total volume. Currently Japanese yen trading in bitcoin dominates the market at about 61 percent.
With an increase in interest, comes new investors. Bloomberg recently reported that the number of users on Coinbase, the largest US based Bitcoin exchange, increased by over 300,000 between November 22-26; bringing the total number of users to about 13.3 million. And with a steady stream of about 3,600 new bitcoins a day, with about 16.5 million already in circulation, we could see an even greater rise in the number of users.
The cryptocurrency has continued to break through symbolic price barriers; taking a little over two weeks to go from $7,000 to $8,000, just a week to reach $9,000, and just two days cross $10,000. The recent rise has pushed the combined market value for all cryptocurrencies to a new high of ~$325 billion. Bitcoin’s market capitalization is now over $177 billion, which is worth more than a great number of US companies, including Boeing and General Electric.
Cryptocurrencies have already begun to gain the attention of institutional investors; with a variety of them signaling an increased acceptance of the asset. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has already stated its intention to offer bitcoin futures in the near future, as soon as December. Wall Street bank JPMorgan has also said it is considering allowing its clients to trade bitcoin futures.
However, there are number of other market watchers who remain highly critical of Bitcoin. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has called the digital currency a “fraud”, while BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has labelled bitcoin as an “index of money laundering.” Other critics have brought up legitimate concern about Bitcoin being largely held right now as an asset, rather than being used for ordinary transactions; which is what was envisioned by its founder.
The value of the cryptocurrency has risen over 900% this year based on a weighted average, and has been predicted to grow even more by a variety of investors. Former hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz is one of those investors who has said he believes Bitcoin could reach $40,000 within the next 13 months.
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