Watch: Bitcoin climbs to record high as the crypto market matures
The price of bitcoin rose past the $ 20,000 mark Wednesday morning to $ 20,820, an all-time high and the latest milestone in a 2020 surge that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new high took the bitcoin market cap to $ 384 billion.
Bitcoin had already beaten its peak in December 2017 on November 30 when it reached $ 19,800, but it rocked wildly in the days that followed, and $ 20,000 saw a high level of resistance.
Most cryptocurrency exchange sites say this is the first time bitcoin has ever hit $ 20,000, though CoinMarketCap (the data source that Yahoo Finance uses for its cryptocurrency charts) ranked 2017’s top at $ 20,089, and exchange crypto BitMEX has $ 20,093. The variation is because, unlike stocks, which are listed on a single exchange for a single price, cryptocurrencies can be bought and traded on many different exchanges and the exchanges can vary in the price they list; many give a combined average of market prices from multiple exchanges. But all exchanges agree that Wednesday always marks a new highlight.
Bitcoin is now up 190% in 2020.
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The surge has been driven by institutional interest, as Wall Street companies have begun to allocate a small amount of their portfolio to bitcoin, and as a handful of influential investors have done the same and spoken publicly about it, including Paul Tudor Jones and Stan Druckenmiller.
The organizational trend has occurred alongside two major consumer-facing payments companies buying in: PayPal and Square.
PayPal (PYPL) announced on October 21 that it will soon allow the purchase of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and payment with bitcoin, through PayPal and Venmo. That news sent PayPal and bitcoin shares surging.
Square (SQ) has been pro-bitcoin since 2018, when it added a bitcoin buying feature to its Cash App, but in October the company went further by buying $ 50 million worth of bitcoin as an asset for its balance sheet, separately in Cash App. For Q3 Square also reported bitcoin revenue of $ 1.63 billion, up 618% from Q3 2019, and recorded bitcoin profit of $ 32 million, up 1,500% from Q3 2019. (MicroStrategy, a cloud services company, bought $ 425 worth of bitcoin this summer. via Coinbase.)
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Wall Street organizations were warming up to bitcoin before the pandemic, but crypto executives say the pandemic’s economic trends – including government stimulus payments and monetary easing – have further boosted bitcoin’s appeal.
“When you print trillions more dollars of paper money, it’s going to increase bitcoin and other cyptocurrencies,” Dan Morehead, CEO of crypto investment firm Pantera Capital, told Yahoo Finance Live in August. “Gold is going to go up, bitcoin is going to rise. It’s a hedge for paper currency to be ruined. ”
Bitcoin’s surge has boosted Grayscale Investments’ portfolio, the largest crypto asset fund, to more than $ 12 billion.
“I think we’re in a very different market than we were in 2017,” said Grayscale managing director Michael Sonnenshein. “Bitcoin and the digital money market as a whole have become much more of a two-sided market with the development of derivatives, options, lending market and lending. I also wonder who is investing and why they are investing has changed … One of the most common narratives out there is revolutions out of gold and into assets like bitcoin, which is certainly something that has resonated with investors, but you also have a background of new companies and other forces moving the needle to investors. You have corporations adding bitcoin to their balance sheets, like Square and MicroStrategy. You have companies like PayPal opening the door for investors and traders to be able to use PayPal to buy and sell crypto as well as use crypto as part of their trade. And so you have an environment that looks very, very different than it was in 2017. ”
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Daniel Roberts is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance and has featured on bitcoin since 2011. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.
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