The price of bitcoin just surpassed $1,800, its second all-time high this week. As governments worldwide eye the blockchain technology and ready new cryptocurrency rules, there is no sign bitcoin’s astronomical rise in value, up 81 percent this year, is over.
According to Coindesk’s Bitcoin Price Index, the average price of bitcoin hit $1,839.23 on Thursday after starting the day’s trade session at $1,732.13. That jump of more than $100 follows the historical achievement Tuesday of bitcoin breaking $1,700 for the first time.
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What’s driving this mega surge? Recent comments and developments from officials in the US, Japan, and Russia, according to CNBC.
Though the price of the digital currency had already been steadily mounting, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari spoke favorably of the blockchain technology Tuesday before the record price increase of bitcoin.
“I think sentiment has shifted in the markets, in the Fed,” Kashkari told attendees of a technology conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to Reuters. “I would say I think conventional wisdom now is that blockchain and the underlying technology is probably more interesting and has more potential than maybe bitcoin does by itself.”
The blockchain is a digital, public ledger on which bitcoin transactions are recorded. Some proponents of the technology say its implications go beyond disrupting government currencies, threatening the status quo in global finance altogether as well as insurance markets and even governments themselves.
Last week, Russia announced that bitcoin would be legal by 2019, Cointelegraph reported. And in March, Japan legalized bitcoin for payments, which led to more purchases of the cryptocurrency with yen.
Back in the US, the infamous Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, are waiting to hear back from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as it reviews its original decision to reject a proposal for an exchange-traded fund, or ETF, that facilitates the entry of large institutional investors into the bitcoin market, CNBC reported.
This week isn’t over yet, and already since Monday the market capitalization of bitcoin has surged more than $3 billion to $29.53 billion, CNBC reported.
Meanwhile, in the bitcoin community, there is controversy pending over how changes could be made to the blockchain technology, which has been slowing amid a backlog issue. Some people are calling for a “hard fork,” in which two separate bitcoin currencies would operate, though no concrete solution has been proposed yet.