By Mark DeCambre and Nicole Lyn Pesce
Bitcoin was carving out fresh history on Friday, and generating a ton of buzz on Wall Street and Main Street alike, as well as on social-media platforms, as the world’s No. 1 cryptocurrency staged a sharp rally that took its market value well above $1 trillion.
At last check, a single bitcoin traded near a record at $54,827.69, up 5%, and was pushing the crypto that was written into code back in 2009 to a total market capitalization $1 trillion.
The stratospheric rise of the digital asset created by a person or persons known as Satoshi Nakamoto had investors putting the historic move into perspective on Twitter.
One tweet focused on the Nakamoto email that led to the birth of the digital asset, created in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Nakamoto is credited with writing the software that created the decentralized currency as a challenge to the perception that central banks were printing fiat currency, like dollars /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.08% and euros /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.0415% , with reckless abandon to paper over the cracks in the financial system caused by the subprime-mortgage crisis.
A trillion-dollar aggregate value is momentous for the blockchain-backed asset, which was worth fractions of a cent at inception but even in its early days commanded the finance world’s attention, as this tweet from the Twitter handle associated with crypto trading platform Krakken conveys, referencing the Mike Myers character Dr. Evil:
Bitcoin prices have been on a tear. They have climbed nearly 90% in 2021. By comparison, gold /zigman2/quotes/210034565/delayed GC00 +0.08% , a rival to the digital asset as a store of value, has declined by more than 6% since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.93% is up over 3% thus far this year, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.93% has risen over 4%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.19% has returned nearly 8%.
Bitcoin’s rise since its inception is perhaps even more impressive than its recent run, as the following chart shows.
Cameron Winklevoss, who with his twin brother, Tyler, has made growing the cryptocurrency market a mission, tweeted about the evolution of bitcoin from a white paper to a $1 trillion idea.
The Harvard-educated twins bought $11 million in bitcoins in 2013, according to a report in the New York Times, and that is worth billions now.
A tweet from Tyler Winklevoss took a shot at hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who on CNBC on Friday said that he didn’t give much thought to digital assets like bitcoin. “I just don’t spend much time thinking about cryptocurrencies…I don’t see the economic underpinning of cryptocurrencies,” Griffin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I understand how to value a stock —the net present value of earnings — I understand how to think about currency exchange rates around the world,” the Citadel LLC founder said.
Jim Bianco, president of Bianco Research, compared the move in bitcoin to Tesla’s epic run toward a trillion-dollar market value. In some ways, that comparison is considered apt because it was the electric-vehicle maker’s announcement last week that it was investing $1.5 billion in bitcoin and would eventually accept the cryptocurrency for its products that likely contributed significantly to the latest spike in the bitcoin price.
Tesla’s stock /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +3.50% has been viewed as a speculative asset in its own right, similar to bitcoin, and CEO Elon Musk is viewed as embodying many of the libertarian leanings that underpinned the creation of the crypto 12 years ago.
And if it is hard to really think about the scale of a $1 trillion asset, here’s one illustration that might put it in perspective.
To be sure, bitcoin at its $1 trillion total value, representing about 60% of the value of all cryptos tracked by CoinMarketCap, yet pales in comparison to gold, which boasted a total market value of around $9 trillion, including jewelry and bullion as well as exchange-traded funds.
Anthony Pompliano, co-founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital Assets, speculated , however, that bitcoin could surpass gold in 2029.