Bitcoin’s extraordinary price surge means its market capitalization now exceeds the annual output of whole economies, and the estimated worth of some of the world’s top billionaires.
Bitcoin rocketed above $19,000 for the first time on Thursday before falling sharply from its record high.
In trading on the Coinbase exchange, the digital currency hit a high of $19,340 before falling more than 20% from that level to $15,198.63. At 12:02 p.m. EST, the cryptocurrency traded at $16,260.01. The price on Coinbase is often at a premium over other exchanges. Coinbase is one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges accounting for a third of bitcoin trading volume.
On the CoinDesk exchange, Bitcoin jumped more than 25% on Thursday, hitting an intraday record of $16,569 per coin, just eight days after topping the $10,000 milestone. For the year, Bitcoin is up more than 1,600%.
“It goes without saying that prices have reached a level where sentiment is exhibiting short-term euphoria,” said Mark Newton, managing member at Newton Advisors, in a note to clients. “But to think prices are at mania levels where this could suffer a serious crash here… is a bit ridiculous.”
“I truly don’t think people are involved on a mass scale yet. We’ve heard the fraud claims. Now we need people profiting immensely all around us and making forecasts for $1 million, etc., for it to truly have reached a euphoric peak,” Newton said.
The latest swing higher came as bitcoin topped $12,000 Tuesday night in a rapid recovery from a 20% drop last week.
Between 5 and 6 a.m. New York time Wednesday, bitcoin jumped past $15,000, and the day’s wild ride began.