Bitcoin moved to within a whisker of its all-time high on Tuesday, after hitting $19,000 (€16,000) for the first time in nearly three years.
The world’s most popular cryptocurrency was last up 4.8% at $19,225, (€16,165) just shy of its all-time record of $19,666 (€16,536) hit in December 2017.
Bitcoin has gained around 25% in the last two weeks alone, and is up around 160% this year.
Fuelling its rally have been demand for riskier assets amid unprecedented stimulus programmes to counter the Covid-19 hit; hunger for assets perceived as resistant to inflation; and expectations cryptocurrencies will win wider acceptance as a method of payments.
Bitcoin’s 12-year history has been peppered with vertiginous gains and equally sharp drops.
Its markets and price discovery is highly opaque compared with traditional assets such as stocks or bonds/
“My base-case scenario is that we will break the 2017 high and hold above it,” said Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at FX brokerage Think Markets.
“But if you get an immediate rejection above the all-time, that would raise the possibility of a correction,” he said.
Smaller digital currencies such as ethereum and XRP - which often move in tandem with bitcoin - took a breather after gaining sharply in recent days.
Crypto markets have matured since bitcoin’s December 2017 peak, attracting a greater number of large investors such as family offices and hedge funds.
Its 2020 gains have prompted some investors to claim the cryptocurrency could more than quintuple in price to as high as $100,000 (€84,000) in a year, drawing eye rolls from sceptics who say it is a purely speculative asset.