The world’s best-known cryptocurrency traded at a new high above $ 40,000 on Thursday afternoon, representing a doubling of assets in less than a month as it strikes new peaks almost daily. A single bitcoin BTCUSD, + 8.53% on CoinDesk traded at a high of $ 40,402, before falling back to around $ 38,632, at the latest check. Bitcoin touched $ 20,000 for the first time in mid-December, the highest trade on record at the time.
Bitcoin is already up 32% in January, after posting a 2020 return of around 300%. Earnings for bitcoin and other altcoins, or virtual currency alternatives to bitcoin, so far outperformed stocks and traditional bonds, even with the Dow Jones DJIA industrial average, + 0.76%, the S&P 500 SPX index, + 1.47% and the Nasdaq Composite. COMP Index, + 2.39% trading at or near highs on Thursday. Fans of digital assets say the rally of bitcoin and its like differs this time from the fervor of 2017 and could indicate a much more sustained rise for cryptocurrencies. The recent rally has been supported by increased interest in bitcoin from institutional investors and central bankers expressing their desire to create their own digital currencies. Some market participants say that Bitcoin may be driving away some of the demand for gold, considered the traditional safe-haven asset, with a 5,000-year reputation as a currency and store of value. Strategists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. speculated that a bitcoin could soon be worth $ 146,000, if it starts withdrawing more money from traditional gold buyers, which the researchers believe may already be happening. Bitcoin investors have been drawn to the narrative that it could act as a store of wealth amid rampant central bank money printing in 2020 to fuel an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. On top of that, PayPal PYPL, + 3.50% recently allowed users on its platform to buy bitcoins, as well as other sister cryptos such as Ethereum’s Ether ETHUSD, + 0.03% coins, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, -3.90% and Litecoin LTCUSD, -0.50% . Square’s popular Cash app, + 4.52%, also allows users to buy and sell bitcoins.