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Bitcoin's price has been increasing for months, and there are several reasons behind the surge.
High-profile figures and companies have expressed strong support for Bitcoin.
Other reasons include the Bitcoin halving, which has had an indirect impact on Bitcoin's price.
The price of Bitcoin is above $22,000, having broken through the $20,000 milestone for the first time in its history yesterday. Its current price of $22,732 represents a 118% increase in value over the last three months. Bitcoin is now firmly in uncharted territory.
It’s been a rapid rise since March, when Bitcoin drastically fell to its lowest point of the year, touching as low as $4,000. The coin has continued to bounce back and has fought its way above the $10,000 price point, going on to make new recent highs—and hit values not seen since Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run. Yet this time, an entirely different set of circumstances are accelerating Bitcoin’s price to new highs.
The MicroStrategy Effect
From August to September of this year, business intelligence firm and international giant—MicroStrategy—invested $425 million in Bitcoin.
Following MicroStrategy’s investment, Square invested $50 million—1% of the company’s total assets—into Bitcoin on October 8, 2020.
Public support for Bitcoin investments
Bitcoin’s positive run in the second half of 2020 has seen some major names embrace the cryptocurrency.
JPMorgan is one of the biggest examples of this. In 2017, JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, labelled Bitcoin a “fraud.” This October, the investment bank said Bitcoin is solidly competing with gold, and that “the potential long-term upside for Bitcoin is considerable.”
Grayscale Investments and Bitcoin custody
Grayscale Investments, an asset management company, is at the forefront of providing custodial services for wealthy Bitcoiners.
In October, Decrypt reported on how Grayscale Investments had picked up over 40,000 Bitcoin—worth over $600 million at the time of writing—for its clients. Yet, Grayscale is not the only player in town.
A total of 85,000 Bitcoin, worth approximately $695 million, has been bought up by both Grayscale and CashApp, a mobile payments service owned by Square. During the same period—Q1 of 2020—a total of 163,800 Bitcoin had been mined, meaning that both companies collectively bought the equivalent of about half of the total Bitcoin mined in that quarter.
Bitcoin halving: Squeezing the supply
The Bitcoin halving likely had an impact on Bitcoin’s price. The Bitcoin halving happens every four years and cuts the number of coins miners receive for adding new blocks to the Bitcoin blockchain in half. So from May onward, only half as much Bitcoin was being created as in previous months.
“With the Bitcoin halving in May, this stream of supply has halved, meaning that fewer Bitcoin are put up for sale by miners. This can contribute to a shortage of supply and therefore to a rising Bitcoin price,” Elias Strehle, researcher at the Blockchain Research Lab, told Decrypt.
PayPal and cryptocurrency
PayPal, the international payments giant, announced this October that it would launch cryptocurrency buying and selling features on its platform. It then confirmed yesterday that all of its customers could now access Bitcoin—and plans to bring this feature to Venmo.
This launch included the ability to buy and sell four cryptocurrencies, namely: Bitcoin; Bitcoin Cash; Ethereum; and Litecoin.
Bitcoin surged to new record highs above $23,000 earlier on Thursday, before quickly falling back by over $1,500.
The cryptocurrency dropped from the all-time high of $23,770 to $22,185 in the roughly 30 minutes to 09:45 UTC – a 6.67% drop, according to the CoinDesk 20. Prices rose by more than $2,000 to reach new record highs above $23,700 in the first nine hours of the day (UTC).
At the press time price of $22,560, bitcoin (BTC, +11.23%) is still up 14.37% on a 24-hour basis.
The rally is still looking solid, despite the recent losses. The derivatives market is showing no signs of overheating and on-chain data shows strong holding sentiment.
Further, there are no signs of large investors looking to book profits, with prices easily rallying to record highs above $23,000. At press time, there are roughly 2,400,000 coins held on exchanges. That’s the lowest since August 2018, according to data source Glassnode, and suggests investors aren’t preparing for a sell off.
In a sign of strong holding sentiment, exchange balances have declined by over 15% this year, taking the sell-side liquidity off the market.
Traders, however, should keep an eye on spot market volumes, as liquidity may dry over the Christmas holidays. That could produce wild swings on either side.
The total amount of Ethereum locked up in Ethereum 2.0 is now worth about $1 billion.
The value has increased by over 3,500% in a little over a month.
The threshold for the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade has also been surpassed by about 290%
There is now $1 billion worth of Ethereum locked up in the first step of Ethereum’s mass network upgrade: Ethereum 2.0.
There is a total of 1.526,053 ETH in the Ethereum 2.0 deposit. By Ethereum’s current price of $660, this equates to more than $1 billion worth of Ethereum.
“Ethereum, the second largest blockchain has moved to a new consensus mechanism: proof of stake. The locked up funds signify the investor and community appetite for the new model and will lead the future consensus models in upcoming designs,” Charles Storry, co-founder of PhutureDAO, told Decrypt.
Paxos has raised a fresh $142 million to facilitate the mainstream adoption of digital assets.
“We think that opportunity is now, our investors think it is too,” Paxos co-founder and CEO Charles Cascarilla told CoinDesk in an interview. “We want to really be able to put the pedal to the metal to make sure that we take advantage of that.”
The Series C round was led by Declaration Partners, which is backed by the family office of Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein. Also joining the round were Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital, newly formed Alua Capital and PayPal Ventures. Notably, PayPal’s new bitcoin offering is powered by Paxos’ crypto brokerage service.
“We want to make sure that we’re aligned as we grow together,” Cascarilla said of PayPal’s investment.