The final quarter of 2016 has been good to cryptocurrency bitcoin. At the time of writing, the current bitcoin price stands at $966.41, the highest it has been since its near $1,200 peak in Dec. 2013, before Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox collapsed.
Bitcoin has been rising steadily upward since about Aug. 2015’s low of just over $220. More recently, bitcoin has grown dramatically, upping its value about 30 percent over the last month and about 50 percent over the last three months.
This overall growth is somewhat uncharacteristic of bitcoin’s historically rapid fluctuations — it’s rather calm, collected and steady. Further, the overall growth trend doesn’t seem to have any major discernible cause as of yet. Though bitcoin does have a historical tendency to spike around Christmas, this growth trend began long before this year’s holiday season (even if it does seem to start earlier every year).
It seems likely that larger worldwide trends toward bitcoin adoption and legitimization may have something to do with the recent price increase. Switzerland has become a highly bitcoin-friendly nation as of late with FINMA’s plans to clarify regulation, the railway ticketing system’s recent adoption of bitcoin ATM functionality and Ernst & Young’s Switzerland office adding a publicly accessible bitcoin ATM.
Bitcoin adoption has gained additional momentum in the U.S., and companies like KeepKey have been working to create more secure storage products for cryptocurrency. Germany and the U.K. recently added public machines, and one Japanese insurance company has even started offering bitcoin insurance. Additionally, populations in India and Venezuela have both seen increased interest in cryptocurrency during their respective currency regulation and inflation issues.
Commenting on bitcoin, Bobby Sharp, cofounder and CMO of Coinsource, the largest network of bitcoin ATMs in the United States, said it best: “It’s really exciting to be a part of this industry,” Sharp said. “The total market cap of all outstanding bitcoin right now is over $12.5 billion. In Jan. 2016, it was at $6.5 billion, and in Jan. 2015, it was at $3.5 billion — that graph is pretty sexy. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when that market cap doubles again next year.”