This has been an exciting weekend in the world of cryptocurrency even in light of 2017 getting off to a rough start. Though Bitcoin (BTC) started the year with a slump, since January we’ve seen a fairly consistent upward trend. Prices traded at an all-time high of $1,466.69 on Coinbase at the time of writing according to CryptoWatch, this bull market has brought us to Bitcoin’s all-time high, breaking the previous records set in 2013 and March earlier this year. The current market cap for Bitcoin, as reported by Coin Market Cap, has now surpassed $22 billion.

Coinbase BTC/USD chart via CryptoWatch.

Tracking the price of Bitcoin over the course of the last year can provide valuable insights, that despite the many hills and valleys, the value of the cryptocurrency has demonstrated remarkable resilience, continuing to rise over time. After the spike in 2013 and subsequent low period through 2014, amid much speculation that Bitcoin is dead, 2015 saw a turning point in the price of Bitcoin that strongly suggests continued growth.

While it may be tempting to compare this trend to the spike in 2013, and thus fear another impending crash, there are some key differences. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the cryptocurrency saw a meteoric rise over the span of a few short weeks, smashing through the $1,000 threshold. This growth, it turned out, wasn’t sustainable in the lead-up to the implosion of the now-defunct Mt Gox exchange and was immediately followed by rapid devaluation. This time around, however, the growth is much more organic.

This steady increase, with a few notably large fluctuations, suggests a growing market value, as opposed to the price being artificially influenced by external factors. As blockchain technology continues to mature and adoption becomes more widespread, Bitcoin, with its long history and open-source framework, serves as a model and starting point for developers and new ventures, as well as an on-ramp for investors and cryptocurrency enthusiasts alike. Historically, the price of Bitcoin has varied greatly and behaved more like a commodity than a currency. These wild shifts discouraged many, but present great opportunities for speculation, a major draw for those interested in trading.

The success of Bitcoin is largely, and arguably solely, responsible for the prevalence of blockchain adoption throughout a myriad of industries. In conjunction with the increased sophistication of data science, the financial technology field, or FinTech, is experiencing unprecedented development. Venture capitalists, economists, developers, entrepreneurs, and engineers are combining their knowledge to develop industries and service platforms devoted to expanding the use of Bitcoin and related technologies. This latest price surge in the cryptocurrency serves both as validation for those early adopters and compelling evidence for those unsure

The Bitcoin community may be embroiled in a debate about how best to scale the protocol, but this divisive issue doesn’t seem to be slowing down the most popular, and valuable, cryptocurrency on the market. With the recent rulings coming out of Japan regarding Bitcoin’s legality and the widespread buzz in the financial services sector surrounding digital assets, it’s no surprise that community debate or not, interest in Bitcoin continues to surge forward. In an almost self-fulfilling prophecy, as the value of Bitcoin continues to rise, a correlated rise in interest comes along with it, and growing interest leads to more individuals buying Bitcoin which raises the value which generates interest etc. etc. ad infinitum.

Featured image from Shutterstock.