Bitcoin briefly surged above $18,000 on Wednesday, having passed the $15,000, $16,000 and $17,000 milestones in the past few days. The record high for bitcoin is just below $20,000. The total value of all the bitcoins in circulation is now more than $300 billion — also near an all-time high.
The cryptocurrency, which has more than doubled in value this year, has picked up steam lately for a variety of reasons.
“There is a lot stimulus happening globally,” said Rich Rosenblum of GSR Markets, a crypto trading firm. He noted that the devaluation of the dollar and other currencies could push bitcoin even higher.
“This bull run is different than 2017. We’re seeing adoption from major players,” said Alex Adelman, CEO and co-founder of Lolli, a bitcoin rewards company, in an email to CNN Business. “They’re all betting big on bitcoin as a safeguard against inflation, uncertainty, and the turmoils of 2020.”
Still, bitcoin is not for the faint of heart.
The price has often soared and dipped — sometimes in a matter of hours or minutes — and is subject to mini flash crashes. Prices also plunged in March — along with just about everything else — when coronavirus ground the US economy to a standstill.
Some experts wonder if bitcoin will have trouble moving much higher from here given how explosive the current rally has been.
The $20,000 level could be a “psychological barrier,” said George McDonaugh, managing director and co-founder of cryptocurrency and blockchain investment firm KR1, in an e-mail to CNN Business.
McDonaugh said that some long-time bitcoin bulls, people known in the crytpo community as HODLers (which is either a misspelling of hold or acronym for “Hold On for Dear Life” depending on who you ask) may finally look to take some profits and sell if bitcoin passes the $20K milestone.
“Be warned…as we’ve seen so many times in the past, Bitcoin can surprise,” McDonaugh said.
The big pop in bitcoin has also benefited several publicly traded companies that are players in the cryptocurrency world.