By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
MarketWatch photo illustration/Everett Collection
Bitcoin surged to a new all-time high early on Monday, setting sights on the $10,000 milestone just a day after topping $9,000 for the first time ever.
As traders returned from the Thanksgiving weekend Monday morning, the cryptocurrency /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD -0.78% was up 3.1% at $9,616.74, according to CoinDesk, pulling back from a level of $9,732.76 earlier in the session. Bitcoin has been skyrocketing of late, surging almost 70% over the last month alone, and is now up almost 900% in 2017 so far.
“We’re seeing strong flows with leveraged traders almost entirely long. While we shouldn’t put too much truck in round numbers, the performance has been mesmerizing and it is a sign of sky-high demand,” said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, in a note.
Bitcoin has gone from $8,000 to $9,000 in just seven days, according to CoinDesk , for its fastest 1,000-point rally ever.
Wilson explained that the CME Group’s /zigman2/quotes/210449693/composite CME +2.22% decision in late October to launch bitcoin futures in December “undoubtedly fueled” further buying in the currency.
“The legitimacy this gives bitcoin as a tradeable asset is very important,” Wilson said.
On Monday, the market cap of bitcoin on Monday stood at around $161 billion, data from CoinMarketCap showed. The total market value for the cryptocurrency market on Sunday topped $300 billiion for the first time ever.
Alongside bitcoin’s meteoric rise have come fears that the cryptocurrency’s swift surge is a bubble. Unlike the dollar and other national currencies, cryptocurrencies aren’t back-stopped by a government. Nor do they represent physical assets. However, fans of crypto argue that they represent a new way of finance.
Wilson noted that for traditionalists, the rise of bitcoin is hard to understand.
“Rather than a commodity or currency, bitcoin is like owning stock in a company that will only ever issue 21 million shares and never pay a penny in dividends. The only way it has value is if the next guy is willing to pay you more for it — the greater fool. With no intrinsic value to bitcoin, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a giant speculative bubble,” he said.