Bitcoin price hits new 2019 high as cryptocurrency market continues surge

Anthony Cuthbertson

The price of bitcoin has hit its highest level since May 2018, as the cryptocurrency‘s remarkable surge shows no signs of coming to an end.

Bitcoin passed $9,000 on Sunday, having begun 2019 trading well below $4,000. Its price at the time of writing is $9,265, up nearly 20 per cent from one week ago.

Market analysts suggest the recent rumours that Facebook is about to launch its own cryptocurrency have helped fuel the cryptocurrency’s resurgence, with litecoin, ethereum and other virtual currencies also experiencing a revival.

“Bitcoin has climbed past $9,000, reacting to reports of Facebook’s plans to unveil a digital currency,” Christel Quek, chief commercial officer of blockchain firm BOLT, told The Independent.

“Investors are scrambling back into crypto assets such as bitcoin and other alternate tokens, over optimism that they are becoming widely accepted and adopted by mainstream entities.

“Facebook’s entry into the crypto space perhaps signifies the biggest network potential for digital currenciesm capable of reaching into billions, and therefore indicates an upcoming shift in mainstream finance.”

The world’s most valuable cryptocurrency remains a long way off its peak price of close to $20,000, which it reached in late 2017. However, some experts predict its price could stretch beyond that before 2020 given its recent form.

Beyond Facebook’s interest in the space, other drivers behind the price surge include increased interest in cryptocurrency from major organisations like Microsoft and Amazon.

Last month, Whole Foods was among a handful of retailers to announce the acceptance of cryptocurrency payments in the form of bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash and the Gemini dollar.

“I believe bitcoin has the potential to hit $25,000 by the end of 2019 or early 2020,” said bitcoin analyst Oliver Isaacs earlier this month.

“There are multiple drivers behind the recent resurgence. There are geopolitical, technological and regulatory drivers. The net effect of the trade war between the US and China has led to the sudden interest in bitcoin as a hedge on investments.”