Cryptocurrency markets continued their rally for a second day today. At 14:45 UTC, the overall market capitalization for cryptocurrencies was $470 billion, up 5.4% from 24 hours ago.
Bitcoin continued its upward climb and topped $10,200 shortly after 12 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. Earlier this morning, it had reached a high of $9,957.35 before trending downward. Its price escalated rapidly to $19,000 in slightly more than two weeks the last time it crossed that figure back in December 2017. As of this writing, bitcoin was trading at $9,942, up more than 4% from its price 24 hours ago.
Bitcoin’s gains occurred even as Charlie Munger, the second-in-command to legendary investor Warren Buffett, called the cryptocurrency a “noxious poison” and “asinine.” “I expect the world to do silly things from time to time, because everybody wants easy money,” Munger told audiences in downtown Los Angeles. “It’s just disgusting that people are taken in by something like this.”
Among top 10 cryptocurrencies, Litecoin continued its winning streak, racking up an increase of more than 7%. The cryptocurrency has almost wiped out its losses since the beginning of this year, thanks to a surge of positive press and announcements in the last couple of days. It was trading at $224.60, an increase of 7.35% in its price over a 24-hour period, as of this writing. (See also: Litecoin Price Spikes By 30% On LitePay News.)
Ethereum and Ripple also built up on their momentum over the last couple of days. They were up by 4.5% and 5.6%, respectively. South Africa’s central bank recently announced an ethereum-based blockchain Proof of Concept (POC) for interbank settlements.
Ripple was also in the news as Saudi Arabia’s central bank signed a deal with the company to pilot a program to implement its technology. It is not clear whether Ripple’s cryptocurrency XRP will be used in the pilot program.
Billionaire George Soros Invests In Bitcoin
While Charlie Munger criticized bitcoin, another famous investor invested in it. George Soros’ investment fund has invested in Overstock.com, an e-commerce company that has made major moves in the cryptocurrency space. Overstock.com was among the first online platforms to begin accepting cryptocurrencies and recently launched its own crypto exchange called tzero digital coin exchange.
The Soros Fund Management also invests in blockchain companies through its Medici Ventures arm. Soros had earlier called bitcoin a “nest egg for dictators.” At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a few weeks ago, Soros had said that blockchain could be put to “positive use” and that cryptocurrencies were “a bubble.”
The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) passed motions yesterday to set up a subcommittee on virtual currencies. More details regarding the committee’s scope and functions are not yet available. The move is along expected lines after Chairman Christopher Giancarlo’s largely positive Senate testimony last week. (See also: SEC Chair Testified About Cryptocurrency Regulation Before Congress.)
Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker said virtual currency providers must be regulated under AML/CFT regulation. “Currently, we are one of the only major countries in the world, along with Japan and Australia, that regulate these activities for AML/CFT purposes," Mandelker said at an anti-money laundering conference in New York City. "But we need many more countries to follow suit, and have made this a priority in our international outreach."
Coinbase Launches Coinbase Commerce
As expected, North America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, launched Coinbase Commerce yesterday. The exchange has begun implementing SegWit, which speeds up transactions on bitcoin’s blockchain, in its wallets. The launch comes amid a time of declining transaction fees for bitcoin.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns small amounts of bitcoin.