Bitcoin is back. Again.
Nearly three years after it went on a hair-bending rise and hit a peak of $19,783, the price of a single Bitcoin rose above that for the first time on Monday, according to the data and news provider CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency has soared since March, after sinking below $4,000 at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bitcoin’s latest climb is different from its last spike in 2017, which was driven largely by investors in Asia who had just learned about cryptocurrencies. Back then, the digital token soon lost momentum as people questioned what it could do other than allow for easy online speculating and drug and ransom payments.
While those questions remain, Bitcoin is now being fueled by a less speculative fever. Buyers — led by American investors, including companies and other traditional investors — are treating Bitcoin as an alternative asset, somewhat like gold, according to an analysis from the data firm Chainalysis. Rather than quickly trading in and out of it, more investors are using Bitcoin as a place to park part of their investment portfolios outside the influence of governments and the traditional financial system, Chainalysis and other industry firms said.