Bitcoin surges past $18,000 for the first time since December 2017
Bitcoin is on fire. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency defies gravity and surges past $18,000 for the first time since December 2017. Bitcoin broke the $18,000 level and rose about 8.6% higher Wednesday morning at $18,172, breaching a level it hasn’t hit since Dec. 20, 2017.
Many analysts attribute Bitcoin rise to support from tech heavyweights like PayPal, Square, and Fidelity. Bitcoin is now getting close to its all-time high it posted in a late 2017 rally that saw the values of several cryptocurrencies surge.
Late last month, PayPal joined the cryptocurrency market, allowing customers to buy, sell, shop, and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on its network. PayPal customers will also be able to use cryptocurrencies to shop at the 26 million merchants on its network starting in early 2021, the company said in a statement.
As of writing, bitcoin’s market value, which is calculated by multiplying the total number of bitcoins in circulation by the price, now stands at $337.2 billion, higher than the $331.8 billion it hit in December 2017, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Bitcoin has been on a tear since the beginning of 2020, skyrocketing over 150% in a jump crypto enthusiasts have accredited to unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus in response to the Covid-19 crisis, as well as interest from big-name investors such as Paul Tudor Jones and Stephen Druckenmiller.
Bitcoin is a volatile digital currency. Since its inception in January 2009, the price of bitcoin has gone through cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by analysts as bubbles and busts. For example, in 2011, the value of one bitcoin rose rapidly from just $0.30 to $32 before returning to $2.
In the latter half of 2012, the bitcoin price began to rise again, reaching a high of $266 on 10 April 2013, before crashing to around US$50. On 29 November 2013, the cost of one bitcoin rose to a peak of $1,242. In 2014, the price fell sharply, and as of April remained depressed at little more than half 2013 prices. As of August 2014, it was under $600. As of 16 November 2020, the closing price of bitcoin equals $16,717.
According to Mark T. Williams, an academic and risk management expert, as of 30 September 2014, bitcoin has volatility seven times greater than gold, eight times greater than the S&P 500, and 18 times greater than the US dollar.