Authored by Arjun Kharpal via CNBC
Bitcoin hit a new record high Thursday with rising investor interest causing a rally for the price of the cryptocurrency.
The bitcoin price hit an all-time high of $5,231.28 in early trade on Thursday, according to data from industry website Coindesk. This surpassed the previous high of $5,013.91 hit on September 2.
Bitcoin is now up around 424 percent year-to-date.
Other major digital currencies mostly rose as well. Ethereum traded mildly higher around $307. Bitcoin cash, the offshoot of the original bitcoin, traded slightly higher around $322.
Investors appear to have shrugged off much of the negative news from regulators around bitcoin. Last month, Chinese regulators banned cryptocurrency exchanges with some of the largest in the country shutting down operations. The government also banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), a way for cryptocurrency start-ups to raise money through issuing tokens.
But reports have emerged in the last few days that trading in the world’s second-largest economy could resume. A report by Cryptocoinnews.com, citing Chinese state-owned news company Xinhua, said that bitcoin trading will likely resume with more regulation. This could include new licensing and anti-money laundering regulations to be implemented by exchanges.
“Speculators are bullish on bitcoin’s value with the anticipation of China’s reintegration with global crypto markets,” Aurelien Menant, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Gatecoin, told CNBC by email on Thursday. Investors have appeared to look past some of the negative tones from big business leaders and regulators.
Putin comments ‘water off duck’s back’
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that “buyers of cryptocurrencies could be involved in unlawful activities,” according to a Reuters report. Russia’s central bank also said it would block websites of exchanges that are offering cryptocurrencies. At the same time, business leaders have also poured cold water over bitcoin. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently called bitcoin a “fraud”.
“The bull is back in the market,” Charlie Hayter, CEO of industry website CryptoCompare, told CNBC by phone on Thursday. “Putin and Russia’s comments were water off a duck’s back whilst positive sentiment from industry players are driving long positions.”
Rising support from large institutions could also be helping the cryptocurrency. Goldman Sachs is exploring a bitcoin trading operation, a company spokesperson told CNBC recently. And former hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz is starting a $500 million fund to invest in cryptocurrencies. Novogratz told CNBC earlier this week that bitcoin could hit $10,000 in the next six to ten months.
Another event is also on traders’ radars. Earlier this year, bitcoin split in two, and a new cryptocurrency called bitcoin cash was created.
Another so-called “fork” is on its way, which will result in another new cryptocurrency called “Bitcoin Gold”. Some people holding bitcoin will receive bitcoin gold, which Menant called essentially “free money”.
“Competing bitcoin forks, such as Bitcoin Gold are also encouraging more bullish sentiment as traders look forward to receiving more “free money” in November,” Menant said.
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