The price of bitcoin is racing toward an all-time high of $10,000 and shows no sign of slowing down.
The price of one bitcoin on several exchanges reached more than $9,700, a new high, on Monday morning, marking a 15 percent rise in the price since Friday.
The total value of the 16.7 million bitcoin units in circulation has now smashed through $160 billion, which puts its market capitalization higher than IBM’s, McDonald’s, or Disney’s. Despite the sustained price rise for the last 12 months, however, multiple experts still believe bitcoin is nothing more than a bubble ready to burst.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s (CME) decision in October to launch bitcoin futures in December gave bitcoin legitimacy as a tradeable asset, which analysts believe has helped accelerate the price spike. The digital currency is up 50 percent since the announcement.
Bitcoin’s value has soared in 2017, with one unit costing $1,000 at the beginning of the year. Still, China and South Korea have introduced limitations for cryptocurrency trading, while JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin “a fraud.”
“Rather than a commodity or currency, bitcoin is like owning stock in a company that will only ever issue 21 million shares and never pay a penny in dividends,” Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, told the Guardian.
“The only way it has value is if the next guy is willing to pay you more for it – the greater fool. With no intrinsic value to bitcoin, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a giant speculative bubble,” Wilson added.
While bitcoin’s soaring price grabs most of the headlines, the price of the world’s second-most-valuable cryptocurrency, ethereum, has also risen significantly in recent weeks, and reached an all-time high of $485 on Sunday, up from $300 a couple of week’s previously.
Cover image: A visitor at the Russian Blockchain Week 2017 conference. (Evgeny Biyatov/Sputnik via AP)