Bitcoin prices look set to test the $10,000 barrier this week after hitting another all-time high in overnight Asia trading amid a global rush into cryptocurrencies that has lifted overall values past $300 billion.
Bitcoins were marked $350, or 3.75% higher in London trading on the bitsmap exchange and changing hands at $9,613 each after having hit a record $9,687 each earlier in the session. The jump comes just 8 days after bitcoin topped the $8,000 barrier and only one day after breaking the $9,000 mark and extends its year-to-date advance past 870%. The digital currency now trades at 7.5 times the price of gold, after having traded $200 below the bullion on January 1.
Coinbase, the biggest bitcoin exchange in the U.S., said it had added around 100,000 accounts, or 'wallets' in the days leading up to and over the Thanksgiving weekend, taking the total to around 13.1 million as consumers appeared to favor the digital currency as either a holiday gift of a means with which to make Black Friday purchases.
Bitcoin's chief rival, ethereum, also hit a record $475 each, taking its so-called market cap to around $46 billion, giving the entire spectrum of digital currencies a global value of more than $300 billion.
Last week, analysts at Fundstrat raised their price target for bitcoin to $11,500, saying in a Nov. 22 note that "we no longer feel caution is warranted" as it recommended steady buying of bitcoin at current levels.
"Underlying wallet activity and transaction value (2 variables we see explaining 94% of bitcoin) rebounded sharply," analysts wrote. They added that accounts on Coinbase, one of the main bitcoin trading platforms, surpassed 14 million.
The one main near-term concern for bitcoin is high concentration, Fundstrat said. "The coming CME launch of futures is good news overall, but actually could further concentrate mining power - miners can potentially sell forward production, reducing mining profit variability, hence, create incentives to further concentrate," analysts wrote.
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