Bitcoin has crushed most expectations in its glory year by hitting $20,000 barely a month after reaching five figures for the first time. After several weeks of considerable volatility, mixing rapid growth with sudden declines, momentum finally boosted Bitcoin to its new historic high.
Outperforming almost everyone’s predictions this year, Bitcoin prices received a nice push from Wall Street regulated futures trading, as well as the imminent implementation of the Lightning Network. CBOE launched its Bitcoin futures product on Dec. 10, and CME (a much larger market) will begin trading the cryptocurrency’s futures today, Dec. 18.
Markets reacted to rising prices with a snowball effect, triggering mass consumer interest in both buying and trading the virtual currency. Over the last few weeks, the Coinbase app has been at the top of Apple’s “most downloaded apps” several times.
The barrier was in fact crossed considerably earlier in some markets, specifically those where demand outpaces supply and economic policy is fragile, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
Having broadly failed to foresee just how quickly Bitcoin would rise, commentators are now focusing on the forthcoming year and how governments will react to the rapid growth of digital currencies. Bankers, mainstream media and pundits continue to call Bitcoin a bubble, even as the bull marches on.