Bitcoin surges to a 2020 high on PayPal’s embrace

Bitcoin broke the $13,000 mark on Wednesday, hitting its highest price since June 2019. The latest surge has come as part of a bull run driven in part by votes of confidence from some of the country’s biggest financial companies.

On Wednesday morning, PayPal announced it would let users buy a handful of cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and Bitcoin, causing the price of the latter to rise close to $13,200. On Thursday morning, Bitcoin was trading closer to $12,800—still a high for the year.

The PayPal announcement came two weeks after payment giant Square announced it was adding $50 million worth of Bitcoin to its balance sheet as a long-term investment, and two months after another publicly traded company, Microstrategy, made a $250 million Bitcoin purchase.

Although Bitcoin has long been regarded with wariness by traditional investors, it has also received an implicit blessing this year from august names like Harvard University and hedge fund billionaire John Tudor Jones. The upshot is the cryptocurrency’s best streak of price performance in over a year:

The current bull run for Bitcoin is also notable because it has seen the cryptocurrency float about the key psychological mark of $10,000 for a record 85 consecutive days. While Bitcoin eclipsed that mark several times in the past—most notably during the crypto bubble of late 2017 when the price brushed its all time high of $20,000—it has typically fallen below $10,000 just a few days or weeks later.

Bitcoin is notoriously volatile (though considerably less so than during its early days), and it is often hard to identify single factors that explain price swings. While this week’s surge was almost certainly spurred in large part by the PayPal news, there may be other tailwinds driving the price up.

Those tailwinds include a boom in lesser known cryptocurrencies this summer, which led some traders to cash out and plow their profits into Bitcoin. At the same time, long-time Bitcoin bulls claim that the cryptocurrency has become an alternative to gold among those looking for a safe haven asset amid times of turmoil and loose monetary policy.

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