The price of bitcoin hit new record highs in trading today, breaking through $20,000 for the first time in its history.
The $20,000 mark was surpassed at 8:44 a.m. EST and the price of bitcoin continued to rise. Bitcoin was sitting at $21,786.06 as of 9:14 p.m. EST, up almost 12% over the last 24 hours.
The $20,000 level has long been a psychological barrier for bitcoin, with the price having come close but never moved past it. Bitcoin had a longstanding high of $19,783.06 as of Jan. 1, 2017, and in the following year the cryptocurrency fell as low as $3,360.
In a seeming repeat of the rally of 2016, bitcoin’s price started to rise from around $10,000 in July this year and has continued, albeit with some ups and downs since, establishing until what today was a record high of $19,829.27 on Nov. 30.
Institutional interest in bitcoin is being credited for its surging price. CNBC reported that big-name investors such as Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller moved into bitcoin. Tech firms such as Square Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc. have also been buying bitcoin. “This is the domino effect as asset managers tumble their portfolios into bitcoin,” Charles Hayter, chief executive officer of crypto market data provider CryptoCompare, told CNBC.
That institutional investors are driving bitcoin’s growth is particularly notable because previous price booms in the cryptocurrency have been primarily speculative. As Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica noted, “many people today see bitcoin as primarily an investment asset.”
The idea that bitcoin’s growth is primarily being driven by investors can also be seen in the lack of similar interest in alternative cryptocurrencies. Previous bitcoin booms also saw a similar rise in altcoins, but that isn’t particularly the case in 2020 with a few exceptions.
The question investors will be asking now is just how high bitcoin can go.
Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at Guggenheim, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that he thinks bitcoin should be worth 20 times its current price. “Our fundamental work shows that bitcoin should be worth about $400,000,” Minerd said. As Crypto Potato reported, Guggenheim filed an application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in November to purchase $500 million in bitcoin for its Macro Opportunities Fund.
Bitcoin has always seen cycles of boom and bust. Although this boom might be backed by institutional investors giving it stronger fundamentals, if bitcoin’s history repeats, eventually the price of bitcoin will drop again.
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