INTRO: Bitcoin prices hit a three-year high on Friday as investors still repose faith in digital currencies amidst soaring COVID-19 cases and global political uncertainties. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency on Friday surged to $18,766.79 (~Rs. 13.9 lakhs), climbing more than 160% this year. It is also Bitcoin’s highest valuation since December 2017 because it gets ever-closer to its all-time high of slightly below $20,000 that it hit at the height of the cryptocurrency craze three years ago.
The steady increase in the valuation of Bitcoin and the growing instability in the global economy is now reportedly making mainstream financial institutions seriously consider investing in digital currencies. That’s according to Alex Mashinsky, chief executive officer at crypto lending firm, Celsius Network, who told Reuters: “Today bitcoin has gotten to a place where institutional investors, banks, and family offices are legitimately pondering involvement as a defense against currency devaluation”.
Arguing that the present Bull Run in crypto prices is more stable than the bubble in 2017, he said that unlike last time, when the increase was fueled by early adopters and retail investors, it’s being led by recognized players like PayPal and LINE this point around. “Because large players, like LINE and PayPal are involved this go around, we will expect more stability than the 2017 bubble. This isn’t a gold rush anymore”, he said.
Alongside Bitcoin, other major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and XRP, are also seeing a sharp increase in their valuations as part of a global bullishness on digital currencies among established financial institutions, many of which have started dipping their toes in the emerging technology. While Ethereum rose 7.2% to hit $505 (~Rs. 37,000) on Friday, XRP tokens rose 3% to be priced at 31¢ (~Rs. 22).