Bitcoin (BTC) traded above $17,000 Tuesday at 12:00 UTC for the first time since Jan. 7, 2018, according to the CoinDesk 20 price index.
The rise pushes the leading cryptocurrency’s total market capitalization to over $315 billion, just short of its $335 billion record.
Since its yearly lows below $4,000 in March, when prices crashed over 50% in a single day, BTC has rebounded by more than 330%. Since Jan. 1, the leading cryptocurrency has gained 130%.
BTC’s “spectacular surge” in 2020 largely mirrors its 2017 trajectory, Ben Zhou, co-founder and CEO of derivatives exchange Bybit, told CoinDesk in an email. One key difference this time, however, is the “infusion of institutional money.”
With Monday’s rally, BTC is now trading roughly 15% below its all-time high of almost $20,000 set in December 2017.
Alternate cryptocurrencies (altcoins) are following in bitcoin’s wake. Leading altcoin ether (ETH) is trading at $465 at last check, up 20% this month. Litecoin (LTC) has gained around 30% month to date. Even dogecoin, which stayed quiet after its short-lived TikTok craze in July, spiked nearly 10% Monday, before giving back some of its gains in the afternoon trading hours.
Despite BTC’s strong performance in a predominantly spot market-driven rally fueled by North American buyers, exchange trading volumes remain relatively unimpressive. For example, monthly volume of Coinbase’s BTC/USD trading pair has stayed nearly flat since June.
November could mark a shift in that trend, however, as over-the-counter trading is growing at a steady clip. Halfway through November, volume at the industry-leading desk B2C2 was roughly equal to the whole month of October, said founder Max Boonen in an email. “Market prices can also move on little to no volume,” he added.
As BTC continues to rally, Zhou told CoinDesk, “We may well see minimal resistance until the bitcoin price approaches its all-time high.”