Bitcoin surged beyond $6,000 in trading late last week, setting a new record for the cryptocurrency.
Citing the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index, a Forbes news report said that bitcoin hit as high as $6,003.81 in value on Friday, gaining more than 500 percent so far in 2017. The elevated price comes after bitcoin set record highs earlier in the month — once at $5,300 and again at $5,800.
On top of a rising price, bitcoin’s share of the cryptocurrency market is growing in October, standing at 55 percent as of late last week, Forbes reported. Bitcoin has long been the leader in the cryptocurrency market, at one point controlling 70 percent of market share. This year, competitors, such as Ethereum, chipped away at that dominance. In June, its market share dropped to an all-time low of 40 percent, noted the report. It began to pick up after that and is now setting new highs.
While no one knows for sure the reason behind the surge in value, some analysts attribute it to governments that are starting to regulate the market. Others say investors are purchasing bitcoin ahead of upcoming hard forks that could result in the price going higher. A hard fork occurs when blockchain splits into two because of a change in the rules.
Charles Hayter, co-founder and CEO of CryptoCompare, told Forbes that three upcoming forks could boost shares. Investors are hoping to get free digital currency from the hard fork, he said in the report. Bitcoin Gold, which is a fork of bitcoin, is slated to launch on Oct. 25, aiming to create an alternative bitcoin currency. SegWit2x, another hard fork, is also being watched by investors, as it will increase the block size of bitcoin from 1MB to 2MB.