Bitcoin has recorded its best start to the year since 2012. Optimism has returned to the market following a crash after the 2017 record high.
Bitcoin was trading at around $8,667.33 at 13:34 p.m. SIN/HK up roughly 21% so far this year.
In December 2017, bitcoin hit an all-time high of nearly $20,000 but fell sharply to just over $3,000 in December 2018. Many experts saw that as the bottom as the price of the digital currency continued to climb in 2019.
But a few developments have helped underpin the recent price surge.
“The Iran uncertainty combined with the positive launch of CME Bitcoin Options were strong catalysts driving an eruption in bitcoin and even adding heat to the struggling top 100 alt coins,” Jehan Chu, co-founder of Kenetic Capital, an investor in blockchain start-ups told CNBC.
“Alt coins” refer to alternative coins, a name for digital tokens other than bitcoin such as XRP or ethereum.
Chu was referencing the current geopolitical tensions between Iran and the U.S. as well as exchange-traded bitcoin options which launched Monday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. These are a way for institutional investors to get invested in bitcoin which is seen as positive for the price.
“While sentiment still drives waves of volatility, we are seeing increasing institutional volume anchoring the market,” Chu added.