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With the price of bitcoin at 20-month highs, market observers are beginning to assert the digital currency’s strength could be drawing the interest of new global traders.

With many market participants struggling to get returns from more traditional asset classes, investors are now being prompted to look at investments they would not have considered before, such as digital currency, they argue.

According to Tim Enneking, chairman of cryptocurrency investment fund EAM, the price rally the digital currency enjoyed just weeks earlier can be attributed, in part, to investors’ thirst for yield. 

Enneking told CoinDesk:

“People haven’t been making strong returns in any standard investment class for a while now. They are searching farther afield to find them.”

Elsewhere, Joe Lee, founder of derivatives trading platform Magnr, pointed to macroeconomic uncertainty, stating that it has led casual investors to begin exploring options outside the traditional currency and bond markets.

Against this backdrop, bitcoin prices enjoyed a sharp rally early in the week, rising from an opening price of $538.14 on 3rd June to a 20-month high of $591.03 at 09:45 UTC on 4th June, the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) data reveals.

These price fluctuations took place amid highly bullish sentiment, as Whaleclub data reveals that the long-short ratio – as measured by position size – reached 88% and 87% on 3rd June and 4th June, respectively. Confidence, which refers to the percentage by which a particular day’s position sizes were larger than average, reached 69% and 61% on these two days.

Bitcoin by the numbers

As in recent weeks, the bitcoin markets provided ample volatility for traders.

Hours after surging to the highest point since August 2014, bitcoin prices fell to $563.15, a price reached at 17:15 on 4th June.

The digital currency then mounted a recovery, rising to $582.83 at 02:15 UTC on 5th June, according to additional BPI figures. Bitcoin prices experienced further gyrations throughout the week, once again breaking through $590 at 12:45 UTC on 7th June.

However, the narrative that bitcoin is appealing to new traders hits a stumbling block with other aspects of the data.

These price fluctuations took place amid modest transaction volume, as market participants traded 9.42m BTC during the seven days through 12:45 UTC on 10th June, Bitcoinity data reveals. OKCoin was responsible for 5.13m, or 54.47% of transaction volume, while Huobi accounted for 3.23m, or 34.30%.

These weekly figures fell short of many weeks so far earlier this year, when bitcoin’s trading volume was roughly 30m.

Ether optimism

Of course, the recent price movements have also taken place as attention is drawn to ether, the digital currency that appreciated more than 1,000% in Q1 of 2016.

Ether’s price movements were also relatively modest this week, however, as this digital currency appreciated 4% from an opening value of $13.83 to a closing value of $14.38 during the week, Poloniex figures reveal.

The digital currency rose to as much as $14.75, 6.65% higher than the opening price. Still, market participants traded $105m worth of ether during the week, which was light compared to weeks in May.

Going forward, the developments that helped drive bitcoin’s weekly gains could help create a very promising situation for both digital currencies, and the general lack of appealing investment opportunities could certainly help fuel greater demand.

At the same time investors are feeling more open to less traditional assets, digital currencies are being seen more and more as a “strong investment class,” Lee told CoinDesk.

This shift represents a sea change for some.

Bitcoin is “approaching more widespread adoption,” and some of its naysayers have been forced into hiding, Lee said.

Charles L. Bovaird II is a financial writer and consultant with strong knowledge of securities markets and investing concepts.

Follow Charles Bovaird on Twitter here.

Calculator image via Shutterstock

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

This article is intended as a news item to inform our readers of various events and developments that affect, or that might in the future affect, the value of the cryptocurrency described above. The information contained herein is not intended to provide, and it does not provide, sufficient information to form the basis for an investment decision, and you should not rely on this information for that purpose. The information presented herein is accurate only as of its date, and it was not prepared by a research analyst or other investment professional. You should seek additional information regarding the merits and risks of investing in any cryptocurrency before deciding to purchase or sell any such instruments.