Driven by stimulus plans and corporate interest, the biggest cryptocurrency on the planet continues to soar.
And now the $ 60,000 … After having recently crossed the threshold of 30,000, 40,000 and 50,000 dollars, bitcoin, which still remains very volatile, has just offered a new record under the amazed and frightened eyes of investors and analysts, who are still trying to understand the phenomenon. How can this digital asset that started from zero in 2009 take so much value? And above all: where will it stop?
What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital asset. Available since January 2009, it has three main characteristics. It is first of all dematerialized, that is to say that we cannot touch it. It is also decentralized: no central bank has control. It is the “miners”, owners of computer machines who make their computing capacity available to the network, who run the blockchain. For this work, “miners” are paid in bitcoins. Finally, bitcoin is in limited supply; this characteristic is written into the protocol. There are currently just over 18.6 million bitcoins in circulation. There will be “only” 21 million in … 2140.
Why Bitcoin is it soaring?
Several reasons explain this surge. First, what is called in the crypto community, the “halving” (halving). Last May, the remuneration in bitcoins of “miners” was halved, which mechanically reduced the production of bitcoins and made it even more rare! On average, a few hundred bitcoins are created per day today, against several thousand a few months ago. During the first two “halving”, in 2012 and 2016, bitcoin had soared. It is the same with that of 2020.
Then, and this is an element in connection with the first, there is the monetary policy of the central banks and the vast stimulus plans of the States. The United States alone, which has just voted on a new $ 1.9 trillion plan, has injected more than $ 5,000 billion into the economy. All the assets have benefited from this “magic money”. Most of the world’s stock markets are at their peaks, real estate continues to rise, as does gold. Bitcoin also benefits.
Finally, there is the “institutionalization” of cryptocurrencies. Unlike the previous surge in 2017, several large companies have recently shown interest in bitcoin. PayPal, the largest online payment company on the planet (325 million users) now allows you to buy, sell and store bitcoin. Mastercard will do this in the coming months. For their part, several banks such as JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley or Deutsche Bank could allow their customers to buy it.
Others have even gone further by investing directly in it. This is the case of MicroStrategy (software), which announced on February 16 that it would still raise debt to buy more, as well as Square (payment) and even Tesla, whose investment of 1.5 billion dollars in bitcoin blew up the market.
What has Elon Musk changed?
It is the “X factor”, the match that ignited the powder keg of cryptocurrencies. By announcing in early February that Tesla, one of the biggest companies on the planet, had invested $ 1.5 billion in bitcoin, Elon Musk sent a very strong signal to investors and companies, some of whom have it. has since joined as the Norwegian oil and gas group, Aker ASA.
How far can Bitcoin go?
Impossible to know. While the outbreak of 2017 was carried by individuals, it benefits from a real alignment of the planets with the support of companies which have much greater means. According to Bloomberg, at the start of 2021 they had a nest egg of more than $ 7 trillion, which has led some analysts to say that bitcoin could exceed $ 100,000. Even easily explode them.