(Source: www.forbes.com)

Bitcoin prices hit a fresh all-time high today, continuing the cryptocurrency’s upward trend.

The largest digital currency by market capitalization (market cap) surged to as much as $5,386.23, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

The currency rose to this level less than a month after plunging below $3,000, additional BPI figures show.

Since falling to this local low, Bitcoin has surged more than 80%.

[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]

Bitcoin’s Sharp Rally

Bitcoin’s price has repeatedly reached new highs this year, gaining as the broader cryptocurrency market continues to gather momentum and grow in size.

The total market cap of digital currencies rose to nearly $165 billion early today, more than 800% higher than its figure of $17.7 billion at the start of the year, CoinMarketCap figures show.

As for why Bitcoin prices have surged recently, analysts have pointed to several different factors.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, for example, recently announced that he would stop talking about Bitcoin after calling the currency a “fraud” last month, according to CNBC. Dimon’s criticisms of Bitcoin caused significant controversy.

Impact of Regulation

Many have singled out ongoing regulatory developments, as China decided to ban initial coin offerings earlier this year, and several of its major exchanges announced that they would stop offering local trading.

This Chinese crackdown took place as several governments announced either more stringent regulations or investigations into this space. Digital currencies suffered a sharp pullback in September amid these announcements, but quickly recovered.

Boon To Bitcoin

Going forward, many believe that a more mature regulatory environment could prove beneficial to Bitcoin. If government agencies provide a better-prepared regulatory framework for these digital assets, a growing number of retail investors could take interest in cryptocurrencies.

At any rate, Bitcoin prices seem to be enjoying a steady, upward price movement, rising as much as 450% year-to-date.

Disclosure: I own some Bitcoin and Ether.

More Info: www.forbes.com

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