In Depth

Bitcoin price: is the ‘crypto winter’ finally over?

Cryptocurrency reaches 12-month peak as bull market continues

The cryptocurrency market’s bumper year showed no signs of stopping at the weekend as bitcoin and its rivals saw considerable gains.

According to the ranking website CoinMarketCap, bitcoin values sat at around $7,850 (£6,200) on Friday morning, before comfortably trending above the $8,000 (£6,310) mark over the course of the weekend. 

However, values leapt by some $500 (£394) between 8pm and 9pm on Sunday evening, bringing the bitcoin’s price per coin up to $8,670 (£6,850) during the early hours of Monday morning, the ranking site reports. 

As of 9am UK time, CoinMarketCap puts bitcoin values at around $8,730 (£6,890) per coin.

The cryptocurrency is on a 12-month high thanks to the gains it made over the weekend. Values have also risen by 70% since the beginning of May and by a “whopping” 120% compared to prices at the start of this year, says Forbes.

Sunday’s spike, meanwhile, saw the digital coin’s market capitalisation (the combined value of all bitcoins) rise by $15bn (£11.8bn), resulting in gains of $20bn (£15.8bn) across “the wider cryptocurrency market”, the news site says. 

Despite the gains, bitcoin is still some way behind its all-time peak value recorded in December 2017. At the time, the virtual currency came close to hitting $20,000 (£15,770) before suffering continual losses over the 12 months that followed.  

Is the ‘crypto winter’ over?

Perhaps. Although bitcoin is still some way behind its record highs, the market’s gains over the weekend has led one expert to believe that the market’s struggles in 2018 are unlikely to be repeated any time soon.  

In an interview with the Financial Times, Manuel Ernesto De Luque Muntaner, founder of the Luxembourg-based crypto investment fund Block Asset Management, said that many people thought that cryptocurrencies as a whole were “gone” following last year’s “crypto winter”. 

But he said that an increased demand among “institutional buyers and venture capital funds” has helped boost the market in recent months. 

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph says that bitcoin is becoming more widely accepted by retailers, with US-based supermarket Whole Foods and mobile network company AT&T confirming in recent weeks that they are “prepared to accept” the cryptocurrency. 

It’s also believed that the reward for creating bitcoins – known as mining – will decrease next May, which “will squeeze the supply of the cryptocurrency and in theory push up its price”, the newspaper says.

How did bitcoin’s rivals fare?

Well. It’s not only bitcoin that has benefited from the bull market. 

The second largest cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, Ethereum, leapt from a low of $235 (£185) on Friday to today’s value of $270 (£213), according to CoinMarketCap

The banking-focused digital coin Ripple, which is ranked third, also saw prices climb over the weekend. Values were recorded at around $0.38 (£0.30) on Monday, before rising to a high of $0.47 (£0.37) today, says the ranking site.

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