Bitcoin is surging and looks on track to post its highest-ever monthly price close.
At press time, bitcoin is trading around $19,600 on major exchanges, up 7.9% on the day. The price is significantly higher than the peak month-end level around $13,880 on Dec. 31, 2017.
The No. 1 cryptocurrency by market value fell by over $3,000 on a single day last week to as low as $16,242, clearing out excess leverage from the derivatives market. The dip was short-lived and prices have recovered more than 50% of the pullback in the days since.
The impending record close could be a harbinger of a stronger bull run, according to some observers. "Every time bitcoin has closed above the previous monthly all-time high, a 700% to 1000% uptrend has followed," crypto analyst Josh Rager tweeted earlier in the month. Market analyst Lark Davis shared a similar view on Monday.
Bitcoin jumped nearly 27% in April 2017, toppling the previous monthly close record of around $1,150 reached in November 2013. What followed was a steep rally to nearly $20,000 by December 2017. Strong rallies were seen after bitcoin set record monthly closing prices in January and October 2013.
History to repeat itself?
Analysts are optimistic about the ongoing bull market's longevity, with some pointing to $36,000 as the level to watch once the immediate psychological resistance at $20,000 is scaled.
Factors considered responsible for the recent eight-week rally from $10,000 to $19,400, such as increased institutional participation, hedging demand due to dollar sell-off, a potential rise in inflation and the search for yield alongside a record global stockpile of negative-yielding debt, are expected to continue powering gains in the cryptocurrency.
"People have been saying institutions will get into crypto for years, but it seems that this year, they already are," crypto exchange EQUOS noted in its daily bitcoin analysis email. "There's plenty more to join, of course, and the amount of funds along with the immutable scarcity of bitcoin will be felt in a very strong way."
According to JPMorgan's analysts, further gains hinge mainly on continued institutional participation. If flows into the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust wane, the cryptocurrency could suffer if momentum traders keep backing away, analysts wrote in a Nov. 27 note, adding that decreased flows would weaken the argument that institutions are beginning to prefer bitcoin over gold as a long-term investment. Grayscale is part of Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.
Bitcoin has outperformed gold by leaps and bounds this year. While the top cryptocurrency is up 158% on a year-to-date basis, gold is up just 17%.
The two assets have diverged this month, with bitcoin gaining over 30% and gold suffering a 5.5% drop, its highest monthly decline since November 2016, according to data source TradingView.
Meanwhile, global equities are on track to seal a record-busting month on expectations that potential coronavirus vaccines would lead to swift global economic recovery next year. Bitcoin needs to score gains amid potential sell-off in stocks to cement its appeal as digital gold.
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