Bitcoin’s rampaging run continues to find ground as average global prices break above $2,400. Bitcoin price is up nearly 7% on the day, and over a third of its value over the last seven days as the popular cryptocurrency captures the world’s attention. Plenty of mainstream headlines have been made, for the right reasons, as awareness spreads and common everyday investors see an opportunity to divest their portfolios. It could be argued that the influx of new investors are, in fact, contributing to the surge in value, driving up demand for the cryptocurrency.
It has been a remarkable month of gains in what has already been a dramatic year for bitcoin. Striking the $1,000 milestone on January 1st, bitcoin has now gained over 145% in value to date, a sign of enthusiasm and optimism for the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem that is led by bitcoin. Earlier today, the entire market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies in circulation struck $90 billion, nearly tripling in growth this month alone.
In its continuing surging run at the time of publishing, bitcoin price has reached an all-time high of $2,450 on the Bitstamp Price Index (BPI).
As has been the trend this past week, trading over a 24-hr period has been dominated by USD markets, followed by China and, interestingly, Korea. Japan, which was the world’s largest bitcoin trading market for a number of months, has slipped to #4. At 12.3% of the world’s trading, trading in Japan has now slowed to a third of volumes scaled just last week. Japan’s fall down the bragging order sees Chinese markets make a return to the top of the scale.
An operating theory is that it was Chinese investors who were trading in Japan these past few months due to a withdrawal freeze imposed by bitcoin exchanges following regulatory pressure by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank. The renewed optimism among Chinese traders to head back and fuel the local trading markets is due to expectations of withdrawals resuming in June, nearly four months after the pause.
A look at bitcoin prices in Korea shows an obscene $3,439, on average. A premium of $1,000, compared to trading in US exchanges. These soaring premiums have been attributed to capital controls by the government.
Meanwhile, figures from CoinmarketCap reveal a massive sell-off of Ethereum by investors buying into bitcoin on crypto exchange Poloniex, with over $142 million swapped into BTC, altogether accounting for nearly 9% of the world’s bitcoin trading volume. Ethereum Classic and Ripple’s XRP tokens swapped into Bitcoin totaled another $180 million, pointing to a significant shift in the last 24 hours.
The most obvious factor underlined as the cause for bitcoin’s surge today Is the consensus reached by bitcoin miners toward scaling the bitcoin network with a protocol upgrade (SegWit) and bigger transaction blocks at 2MB. Longstanding congestion bottlenecks – over 200,000 transactions were stuck a week ago- saw the Segwit2Mb proposal from March call for the activation of the upgrade. Announced yesterday, the consensus saw a group of companies wielding 83.3 of the bitcoin network’s power agree to the upgrade.
Whatever the reason, bitcoin is now up 550% compared to May 2016. All of which, means that the 16.3 million bitcoins mined are now valued at over $40 billion.
If bitcoin were dropped into the M1 (liquid or narrow money stock metric), it would rank at #55 on the CIA’s global list, with more circulating cash than the likes of Colombia and New Zealand.
Charts from CoinMarketCap and BraveNewCoin.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Last modified: May 24, 2017 22:07 UTC