The price of Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency in the world, surged on Monday to reach a 12-month high of $8,940, according to CoinDesk. The virtual currency, which was trading at $8,725 at 4:32 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, represents close to 60% of the $271 billion total crypto market cap, and its price has risen around 140% this year. Other coins including Ether, Litecoin and Ripple's XRP also saw big gains yesterday.
JPMorgan, which launched its own digital currency in February, recently warned that the price of Bitcoin has moved higher than its intrinsic value just like it did in 2017. However, there is chatter of a possible bull market as investors dare to hope the bottom is in for this market cycle. Reports, like this one from Adamant Capital, say that they are "HODL"ing again.
There have been big headlines about the virtual currency space recently, with AT&T Inc. (T) saying it will accept Bitcoin payments and Facebook Inc. (FB) planning to launch its own digital currency. Many analysts are saying the macro backdrop is also part of the reason for Bitcoin's rally. The most recent outlook report from research firm Delphi Digital attributed the coin's price increase to risk-seeking investors looking for above-average growth opportunities due to the "slowing global growth expectations but modest economic output." The report also pointed out that BTC and physical gold have been trading inversely to each other.
Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group and staunch critic of gold as an asset, recently talked with Bloomberg about "fantastic sentiment" and how what's happening in the market now is different from 2017. Silbert said infrastructure and technology has improved and we're seeing an increase in custodians, which has helped investors trust the ecosystem more. He added that 90% of the money that came in at digital currency investing firm Grayscale Investments from institutional investors in the first quarter this year, went into its Bitcoin fund.
There is speculation online among those closely watching transactions that "Bitcoin whales," a moniker for the largest owners of the currency, are mainly responsible for pushing the price up. Manuel Ernesto De Luque Muntaner, founder and chief executive of Luxembourg-based Block Asset Management, told the Financial Times that the "crypto winter" is gone and "institutional buyers and venture capital funds helped fuel the rebound in prices this year."
Another bullish indicator? Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has added Bitcoin as a currency option in its Excel program.