Bitcoin Soars Past $68K for the First Time as Ether Also Sets Record High

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies neared a milestone of $3 trillion.

Nov 8, 2021 at 11:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 9, 2021 at 3:09 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin, the oldest cryptocurrency, on Monday blew past $68,000 for the first time, hitting $68,382.60 during Asian hours trading.

The markets have been in bull mode since the beginning of the October, with the crypto market in total adding nearly $1 trillion to its total value in just a month. At the press time, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has reached near $3 trillion, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

As CoinDesk reported, bitcoin is widely perceived by many investors as a store-of-value asset like gold, making the crypto a haven as worries about inflation increase. Meanwhile, blockchain data from Glassnode shows that the number of unique wallets with a balance of more than zero bitcoin has returned to near 39 million, a number that’s close to a record high of 38.7 million in May.

At the same time, Glassnode noted in its weekly report on Monday that bitcoin’s balances on exchanges continued to drop, while Bitcoin mining hashrate, a measure of the total computational power being used to secure the Bitcoin blockchain, could return to new all-time highs before the end of the year – after the hashrate plunged in July due to China’s crackdown in bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin was surging above $68,000 at around 05:00 a.m. UTC on Tuesday. Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, also set an all-time high, hitting $4,823.95, according to CoinDesk data.

Ether’s surge came as reports show that the Ethereum network burned more ether than it issued for at least a week, after Ethereum’s London hard fork upgrade introduced a mechanism to burn a large portion of transaction fees, measured in ether, instead of sending them to miners. Burning means that the ether is permanently removed from the circulating supply.

Meanwhile, the concerns around Ethereum blockchain’s scalability and high transaction fees continued to move parts of the market’s attention to so-called Ethereum alternative tokens including solana (SOL), polkadot (DOT), terra (LUNA), and avalanche (AVAX).

Data from blockchain data firm Kaiko shows that Ethereum is losing market share to other popular layer 1 blockchains since the beginning of the year, as ether’s trading volume on Binance, the largest crypto exchange by daily trading volume in the world, has fallen to 42% from 76% in the beginning of the year with the lost volume shifting to other layer 1 tokens.

Credit: Kaiko

“The recent [non-fungible token] fervor has again generated high transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain, making alternate networks that solve for scalability concerns more attractive,” Kaiko wrote in its newsletter on Nov. 8.

UPDATE (NOV. 9 5:02 UTC): Updates bitcoin and ether record high throughout the report.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, 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.

Muyao is a reporter on the markets team. She is based in Brooklyn, New York. She owns a marginal amount of bitcoin.