The cryptocurrency that has made it something of a habit to keep setting newer records and grabbing headlines has done it again: Yesterday, Bitcoin surged past the $10,000 ceiling on major exchanges and digital currency indexes, including BitStamp, the widely-followed Luxembourg-based trading platform.
It has soared more than 900% so far this year, posting the largest gain of all asset classes. Hard to imagine now that one could have invested in Bitcoins at just 6 cents seven years ago. While growing public interest, or investor mania really, is the main reason for this exponential rise in value, the recent news about the CME Group-the world's largest futures exchange-planning to launch futures contracts for Bitcoins soon also fanned interest. Moreover, institutional demand for crypto-currencies has been steadily rising as it goes more mainstream.
Bitcoin's $167 billion market capitalization reportedly already exceeds that of about 95% of the S&P 500 Index members. In some emerging markets, in fact, Bitcoin has hit well over the $10,000 mark. In Zimbabwe, Bitcoin was trading at $17,875 on Monday (Tuesday's price not available yet) while in South Korean exchanges, it was already close to $11,000 or higher yesterday, trading at $11,734 on Korbit.
However, opinions regarding the cryptocurrency's future remain as sharply divided as before. According to CNBC reports, Standpoint Research's Ronnie Moas raised his 2018 price target for Bitcoin to $14,000 from $11,000 while Former Fortress hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz predicted that bitcoin could "easily" be at $40,000 at the end of 2018. Many other industry insiders remain unconvinced and say it's just an asset bubble.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon went a step further and reportedly called the digital currency a "fraud" while BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said it is an "index of money laundering".
Nonetheless, one can't deny that the entire crypto market is booming. The total market capitalization of all digital coins tops $312 billion according to CoinMarketCap, its value reportedly rising more than 1,200% in the past year. So if Bitcoin is just too expensive for you now, you can consider getting in on the action with some other digital currency like Ethereum, which has gone up from $8 at the start of the year to around $480 currently.