Digital currency Bitcoin extended its record smashing rally, beginning the year with a surge over $30,000 for the first time, with ever more traders and investors betting that it is on its way to becoming a mainstream payment method.
The price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency traded as high as $31,824 early Saturday, with almost all other markets closed over the first weekend in 2021. It was last up about 8% at $31,743.
Bitcoin advanced more than 300% in 2020, and with the latest leg higher has added more than 50% since crossing $20,000 just two weeks ago.
The blockchain currency has only been around for a decade or so, and in 2020 it has seen demand grow from larger U.S. investors, attracted by its perceived inflation-hedging qualities and potential for quick gains, as well as expectations it would become a mainstream payments method.
Investors said limited supply of bitcoin – produced by so-called “mining” computers that validate blocks of transactions by competing to solve mathematical puzzles – has helped power upward moves over recent days.
Some also saw it as a safe-haven play during the COVID-19 pandemic, akin to gold.