Bitcoin is surging in 2020 and nearing its all time high — here’s why
Bitcoin topped $18,600 on Friday, continuing a vertical climb that accelerated in early October. The largest digital currency by market cap is up 160% in 2020, and up 190% since March 15, following a crash in the second week of March that saw the price drop 25%.
Now it’s not far from its all-time-high of around $19,800 toward the end of December 2017.
Bitcoin (BTC) bulls are hoping this time is different. And it is, judging by the breathless media coverage and general mania: there isn’t any.
In the previous bull run, financial (and non-financial) press went into a frenzy, in many cases covering bitcoin for the first time, and the price hike became a cultural conversation around Thanksgiving dinner tables. Stories proliferated of crypto newbies buying up bitcoin on exchanges, many of whom lost their shirts when bitcoin dropped precipitously in January 2018.
This time, the coverage has been muted. Perhaps you can chalk that up to the mental toll of the pandemic or the distraction of the U.S. presidential election. (The debate feels in many ways similar to the debate around why live sports TV ratings are way down.) Or it could be a sign that the price hike is less remarkable because the public now knows about bitcoin, and it has become less of an oddity. That can be a positive indicator for its future use and mainstream acceptance.
Growing acceptance, both by consumer-facing companies and Wall Street institutions, provides much of the explanation for bitcoin’s 2020 run. Here are some of the recent news events and trends that have boosted bitcoin.
Increasing institutional adoption
Over the past couple of years, a range of Wall Street investment firms and financial institutions have gravitated toward cryptocurrency—even if just dipping a toe in by putting a sliver of their assets into bitcoin or altcoins.
That rising interest helped Grayscale Investments, the largest crypto investment firm, top $10 billion in assets in the third quarter. (Grayscale is owned by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, the single largest investor in cryptocurrency startups, which owns the news site CoinDesk.) Grayscale offers publicly traded funds pegged to the prices of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, ether, ethereum classic, XRP, Zcash, and others. In Q2 of this year, more than a dozen well-known Wall Street firms disclosed with the SEC new investments in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), including ARK Invest and Boston Private Wealth.
Thanks to bitcoin prices, Galaxy Digital, the crypto investment firm of Mike Novogratz, saw profit of $44.3 million in Q3 2020, a huge turnaround from losses of $68.2 million in Q3 2019.
Reports of traditional finance embracing crypto have fueled more buying. “Bitcoin thrives off network value, so the more people who adopt…