Bitcoin’s relentless and volatile rally shows no sign of abating, with the world’s largest cryptocurrency defying growing bubble fears to hit yet another milestone.
Bitcoin rose as much as 7.7 percent to a record $8,290 as of 2:47 p.m. in New York. It’s been a tumultuous year for the virtual currency, with three separate slumps of more than 25 percent all giving way to subsequent rallies.
Even the most bullish analysts can’t keep up with bitcoin’s rally. Standpoint Research’s Ronnie Moas, who says bitcoin’s market cap will one day catch up to gold at $8 trillion, is raising his 2018 price target for the digital currency to $14,000 from $11,000. He had increased it from $7,500 last month.
“The inflation in this thing is massive,” Luke Hickmore, a senior investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments in London, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “When will it collapse? Who knows. It will cause a lot of pain.”
Even as many skeptics call the asset a bubble waiting to pop, it’s becoming too big for many on Wall Street to ignore. CME Group Inc., the world’s biggest exchange, will start offering futures trading on bitcoin next month, while senior executives at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. have said they are researching cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that underlies them.
Recent volatility has stemmed from a pickup in people switching to alternative virtual currencies, notably bitcoin cash. That’s gaining popularity due to lower transaction costs and faster speed. New cryptocurrency iterations are springing up as disagreements over bitcoin’s design persist and opportunities for making a quick buck prove hard to pass up.
Bitcoin cash dropped 0.6 percent on Monday to trade at $1,189, down from a high of $1, 388 on Nov. 12, Coinmarketcap.com prices show. Bitcoin has advanced more than 700 percent this year and now boasts a market value of more than $130 billion.
“I find it remarkable and somewhat frightening how, no matter how much bitcoin is pummeled by sellers, it simply bounces back even stronger,” said Lukman Otunuga, an analyst at currency brokerage ForexTime Ltd. “Will bitcoin hit $10,000 before year end? This is the question every investor is asking.”