Bitcoin’s relentless surge continued over the weekend, with prices crossing $4,000.00 for the first time since the cryptocurrency was introduced back in 2009.
BTC/USD: On to a New Milestone
The BTC/USD exchange rate reached a high of $4,190 for a new all-time record, according to Bitstamp.
After a brief pause, Bitcoin’s breathtaking rally resumed in mid-July. Prices have since doubled in value and are up nearly 300% on year.
The new record follows multiple all-time highs in the wake of the Aug. 1 hard fork – an event that was far less volatile than analysts had feared. What’s more, the transition to the new SegWit protocol, which was officially locked in last week, has been smooth.
Since fork day, the BTC/USD has eluded volatility and retained market share from rival Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The newly minted BCH has witnessed volatile swings since coming into existence. It was last up 3.7% at $323.00.
Bitcoin Well Ahead of the Pack
In terms of overall market value, BTC and BCH are ranked No. 1 and 4, respectively. Bitcoin’s market cap crossed $66 billion over the weekend. Bitcoin Cash was worth just over $5.3 billion. Eight other cryptocurrencies are worth at least $1 billion. The total value of all cryptocurrencies is approaching $140 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.
Though fundamental and geopolitical forces are expected to keep bitcoin prices elevated, the cryptocurrency is already “ahead of the pack” in terms of longer-term momentum. This suggests altcoins such as Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash may be better better options from a purely risk/reward perspective.
Japanese Buying Frenzy Drives Gains
Japanese traders continue to drive the bitcoin rally, with nearly 46% of global trade volume denominated in the yen currency. That’s up from roughly one-third on Friday. U.S.-dollar bitcoin trade accounts for roughly 25% of the market.
As of April 1, Japan has accepted bitcoin as a legal payment method. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Japanese stores will begin accepting the cryptocurrency as soon as this year.
ICO Frenzy Boosts Confidence in Cryptocurrency Market
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are all the rage these days. Just last week, it was announced that the amount raised via ICOs in June and July topped the amount raised via early-stage venture capital.
Filecoin, a highly anticipated cryptocurrency, raised a staggering $180 million in a few hours.
Analysts say that the hype surrounding ICOs reflects growing confidence in the future of cryptocurrencies. Even on Wall Street, there is a sense of urgency to “get to the bottom” of cryptocurrency-as-an-asset. Hedge funds, wealth managers and institutional investors are devoting greater time and resources to understanding this new asset class.