Bitcoin was a big topic of conversations around the Thanksgiving table back in 2017 as its incredible rise that year dominated headlines.
And as we approach this year’s more pared down Thanksgiving, the digital currency is again climbing higher.
In fact, so far this year, bitcoin is up more than 150% in 2020, and this week the cryptocurrency topped $18,000 as it edges closer to topping its 2017 high.
At $18,212 as of this writing, bitcoin is just 7% below its all-time high.
Momentum has certainly been on its side, with the coin rising more than 10% in the last five trading days, and if this momentum continues, it could reach its high fairly quickly especially if the weakness in the U.S. dollar continues.
“On the persistent dollar weakness, it’s only been bitcoin recently that has gotten going to the upside while gold and silver continue to consolidate its gains this year,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer for Bleakley Advisory Group.
Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst with Oanda Asia Pacific Pte, echoed Boockvar this week, saying, “Bitcoin seems to be the hedge of choice against the U.S. dollar debasement that is looming, either through more Federal Reserve quantitative easing, higher government debt or a steepening yield curve – or all three.”
Bitcoin’s investor base is growing as well as more institutions make the jump into the asset, with recent purchases or endorsements from the likes of Square (NYSE: SQ), PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL), Paul Tudor Jones, and Stanley Druckenmiller. It’s even on the mind of Ray Dalio who said this week that he “might be missing something about bitcoin” as the cryptocurrency surged higher.
Even online gamblers are banking on bitcoin and requesting the cryptocurrency when cashing out from some poker websites.
Winning Poker Network has had to buy millions of dollars worth of bitcoin a day just to meet the demand from exiting players.
“Right now, 90-95% of our payouts are people asking for bitcoin because it’s going up,” said Winning Poker Network CEO Phil Nagy. “We are constantly having to go out and buy bitcoin – lots. Lots. More than we’ve even had to before.”
Fear of missing out “is well and truly in play here, and the fact that so many big hitters are publicly declaring their positions is clearly helping,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Financial Pty. “I don’t see this move as a mania or grossly over-loved just yet.”
Given that, bitcoin is likely to surpass its 2017 high. But where could it go from there?
Research firm Fundstrat says the potential for new bitcoin ETFs, interest from hedge-fund managers, and the overall recognition that the coin is gaining traction as an alternative asset class will drive bitcoin higher.
Once it breaks above its former all-time high, the firm says the cryptocurrency could be headed for $25,000 – 37% higher than the current price.
Still, not everyone is a fan of bitcoin. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday that he has no interest in the cryptocurrency. “It’s just not my cup of tea,” Dimon said.