It was another big week for the most-popular of cryptos, with Bitcoin (BTC-USD) retaking $16K, pushing through $17K, and then moving past $18K on its way to the current $18.6K. That's not quite the all-time high of about $20K set during the 2017 mania, but in a couple of ways, Bitcoin has well-eclipsed what it did that year.
First, there's more Bitcoin available today than three years ago, so the current market cap of $345B is nicely higher now. Second, Bitcoin spent only a handful of days above even $10K in 2017 - crossing that level for the first time just before Thanksgiving, and then peaking for good about two weeks later. This year, Bitcoin surpassed $10K in mid-summer and has spent nearly all the time since above that mark.
Institutional acceptance is the major difference this year. In 2017, Charlie Munger called Bitcoin "worthless, artificial gold," and Warren Buffett described it as "rat poison." Seth Klarman was dismissive, and Jamie Dimon threatened to fire any JPMorgan trader caught dealing in crypto. This year, Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller have sung its praises (and invested their money), and Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor has put a significant portion of his company's treasury assets in Bitcoin. Square - whose CEO Jack Dorsey has only #bitcoin in his Twitter profile - invested $50M of its treasury assets as well.
This morning, Rick Rieder - the fixed income CIO for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager - said Bitcoin could take the place of gold. "It's so much more functional than passing a bar of gold around."
And about gold (XAUUSD:CUR), it's having a good year - up 27% - but at $1,873 per ounce is well off its August high of about $2,100. As recently as Labor Day, the two (supposed) competing inflation hedges were neck-and-neck for 2020, but gold has roughly flatlined since, while Bitcoin has continued sharply higher.
Better than passing a bar around - Bitcoin moves past gold
Now read: The Unfortunate Case Against Bitcoin »