Bitcoin Prices Top $9,000 for the First Time as Historic Rally Continues

Bitcoin’s record-setting surge continued over the weekend, as prices topped $9,000 for the first time ever. The world’s no. 1 digital currency has been on a relentless surge since mid-November as investors bought on the dip following the failed activation of Segwit2x.

BTC/USD Price Levels

The bitcoin-dollar exchange rate touched a daily high of $9,488.52. Prices have since moderated, but are still up more than $1,000. At last check, BTC/USD was valued at $9,293 for a market cap of $155 billion.

Trade volumes on the major exchanges have surged past $5.4 billion over the past 24 hours, with Bitfinex, Bithumb and GDAX leading in the daily turnover.

With the latest gain, bitcoin has added more than 940% to market cap since Jan. 1.

Demand Rising

Bitcoin’s record-setting surge has made it the world’s 30th largest currency, according to In doing so, it has overtaken the Singapore dollar and UAE dirham, among others.

The coin’s market cap is approaching big-name institutional players such as MaterCard Inc., which is worth around $171 billion. The cryptocurrency has already overtaken several of the Dow’s major blue chips, including 3M Co, Caterpillar Inc. and IBM.

A confluence of factors have aided bitcoin in achieving monumental highs this year, with institutional demand being one of the biggest. Chicago-based exchanges CME Group and CBOE have each announced plans to introduce bitcoin futures in the near term, giving institutional investors more leeway in accessing cryptocurrency.

Leading digital currency exchange Coinbase is also planning for the upsurge in institutional money. According to CEO Brian Armstrong, roughly $10 billion worth of institutional capital will flow into the bitcoin market in the coming months. This could easily add hundreds of billions of dollars to bitcoin’s already massive market cap.

Meanwhile, several big name investors and even celebrities have given highly bullish valuations of the cryptocurrency. For many, bitcoin is bound to reach $10,000 before the end of the year. While that may have seemed improbable just a few weeks ago, prices are now clearly heading toward that psychological milestone.

Global Cryptocurrency Market

The total market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies spiked above $290 billion on Sunday for the first time ever. At last check, the total market value of the crypto universe was around $293 billion. That gives bitcoin just over half of the total market cap.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) joined in the upswing on Sunday, although gains were limited to a few percentage points. The bitcoin alternative was up more than 3% at $1,658 late Sunday.

Although bitcoin continues to be the main driver of the cryptocurrency market, the altcoin universe offers fundamentally different assets. These assets serve fundamentally different markets and consumer segments, which means that the crypto sphere extends far beyond bitcoin.

At this stage, some of the bitcoin alternatives are considered better transaction units than the original blockchain currency. At this stage in the game, bitcoin has emerged as a store of value rather than a transaction unit. Developers are working hard to change that perception, and are experimenting with new protocols to boost the coin’s transaction capability.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi