Bitcoin has steamed to a new record on Friday, and moved within sight of a market capitalization of $1 trillion, shrugging off analyst warnings that it is an “economic side show” and a poor hedge against a fall in stock prices.
Bitcoin surged 2.6% to an all-time high of $52,932, setting it on course for a weekly jump of over 8%. It has jumped almost 60% so far this month.
The most popular cryptocurrency’s gains have been fuelled by signs it is winning acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, from Tesla and Mastercard to BNY Mellon.
Its latest gains took its market capitalization – all the bitcoin in circulation – to about $982 billion, according to cryptocurrency data website CoinMarketCap, with all digital coins combined worth almost $1.6 trillion.
Still, several investors and analysts remain skeptical of the highly volatile digital asset, which is still little used for commerce.
Bitcoin’s current prices were well above estimates of fair value, analysts at JP Morgan said.
Mainstream adoption increases bitcoin’s correlation with cyclical assets, which rise and fall with economic changes, in turn reducing benefits of diversifying into crypto, the investment bank said in a memo.
Some investors this week cautioned that bitcoin’s volatility is an impediment for its ambitions to become a widespread means of payment.
Tesla’s Elon Musk – whose tweets have fuelled the digital currency’s rally – said on Thursday that owning the digital coin was only a little better than holding cash. He also defended Tesla’s recent purchase of $1.5 billion of bitcoin, which ignited mainstream interest in bitcoin.