Bitcoin prices hit a three-year high on Friday as investors continue to repose faith in digital currencies amidst soaring COVID-19 cases and global political uncertainties. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency on Friday surged to $18,766.79 (~Rs. 13.9 lakhs), climbing more than 160% this year. It is also Bitcoin’s highest valuation since December 2017 as it gets ever-closer to its all-time high of just under $20,000 that it hit at the peak of the cryptocurrency craze three years ago.
The steady increase in the valuation of Bitcoin and the growing instability in the global economy is now reportedly making mainstream financial institutions seriously consider investing in digital currencies. That’s according to Alex Mashinsky, chief executive officer at crypto lending firm, Celsius Network, who told Reuters: “Today bitcoin has gotten to a place where institutional investors, banks, and family offices are legitimately pondering involvement as a defense against currency devaluation”.
Arguing that the current bull run in crypto prices is more stable than the bubble in 2017, he said that unlike last time, when the rise was fueled by early adopters and retail investors, it is being led by recognized players like PayPal and LINE this time around. “Because large players, like LINE and PayPal are involved this go around, we can expect more stability than the 2017 bubble. This isn’t a gold rush anymore”, he said.
Alongside Bitcoin, other major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and XRP, are also seeing a sharp increase in their valuations as part of a global bullishness on digital currencies among established financial institutions, many of which have started dipping their toes in the emerging technology. While Ethereum rose 7.2% to hit $505 (~Rs. 37,000) on Friday, XRP tokens rose 3% to be priced at 31¢ (~Rs. 22).