The bitcoin price went meteoric on Thursday, surging past $5,400 to shatter the all-time high it set at the beginning of September.
Bitcoin’s October rally continued today, enabling the flagship cryptocurrency to finally burst through the $5,000 checkpoint for the first time since briefly touching that mark on September 2. The last time bitcoin hit that mark, traders initiated a minor sell-off that evolved into a major downturn when China began prohibiting initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading just days later.
Today, however, the bitcoin price continued to swell after piercing the psychologically-important $5,000 barrier and setting a new all-time high. The bitcoin price has continued to climb on every major cryptocurrency exchange, and it has now risen to a record $5,419 on Bitfinex. This gave bitcoin a market cap of $90 billion; for reference, the total cryptocurrency market cap reached that mark for the first time on May 24 and had fallen to $98 billion as recently as September 15.
Bitcoin now accounts for nearly 55% of the total cryptocurrency market cap. This is staggering dominance, but trader and crypto economist Tuur Demeester predicts it will continue to rise, potentially as high as 60% within the next three months.
The primary factor driving the bitcoin price’s record rally appears to be skepticism that the controversial SegWit2x hard fork will be executed in November, or, that if it is deployed, the resulting blockchain will not be able to compete with the incumbent Bitcoin network.
Mining pool F2Pool, for instance, stopped signaling for SegWit2x today, becoming the first mining operation to officially withdraw support for the hard fork. If other mining pools follow suit, SegWit2x proponents would lose their primary argument in favor of the hard fork — that hashpower determines consensus.
Moreover, SegWit2x futures have exhibited dismal performance since Bitfinex listed them last week. At present, BT2 tokens (representing SegWit2x coins) are trading at just 0.185 BTC, while BT1 tokens (representing the incumbent blockchain) are valued at 0.823 BTC. Critics such as Olivier Janssens argue that the futures market is biased in favor of the original coin and is not a reliable indicator of support for SegWit2x, but others believe it demonstrates that the market is bullish on the incumbent blockchain.
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