The price of bitcoin surged to over $1,171 on Thursday, a surge that puts it above the previous all-time high of $1,165.89 set Nov. 30, 2013.
The digital currency’s price has been above $1,000 for nearly two months — its longest ever streak north of that milestone — and Thursday’s surge means the price has risen 175 percent over the past year.
Divining and predicting exactly what drives bitcoin’s price fluctuations involves so many variables that it leaves even professional experts making guesses. The last time it spiked this high was late 2013 immediately following the closure of Silk Road, the dark net black market that helped bring the cryptocurrency to mainstream news outlets. The price wobbled wildly then and cratered to as low as $209 soon after. It’s crept up ever since.
Signs point to this spike being driven by much broader market forces. Although the currency has been widely adopted by cybercriminals and mischief-makers as their currency of choice, companies like WordPress, Microsoft and Subway accept it, and financial giants are reportedly closely examining the technology for their own use.
Reports from CoinDesk, a leading cryptocurrency news website, pointed to upcoming potential American political wins for bitcoin including a coming SEC decision on the Winklevoss twins’ ETF that may attract a range of new investors. Four years after the original filing, the SEC’s decision will be made public by March 11.
You can follow the live price of bitcoin at CoinDesk’s price index chart.
Does the price really matter? It’s exciting, it grabs headlines and it can mean an awful lot for short term movers. But Jerry Brito, the executive director of the cryptocurrency research institution Coin Center, focuses on the long term. From that perspectives, spikes and dives mean less.
“The Googles and Facebooks of Bitcoin–the killer apps that will make the technology indispensable for ordinary users–may not come for another 5 years,” Brito said in 2015 following a price drop that year.
Coin Center told CyberScoop that their perspective remains unchanged: They’re looking five to 10 years to the future, not to today’s price changes.
Reflecting on the 2015 flash-crash, Brito advised Bitcoin watchers to not “worry so much.” In the face of the current surge, Brito’s advice would be to not get too excited.
Just don’t tell that to the party going on in reddit’s /r/Bitcoin community.