GUANGZHOU, China — Bitcoin smashed through $37,700 to hit a new record high on Thursday helping to lift the total value of the entire cryptocurrency market above $1 trillion for the first time.
The digital coin hit an all time high of $37,724.67 at around 11:44 a.m. Singapore time, more than three hours after blowing past $36,000, according to data from Coindesk.
Bitcoin was over 5% from a day earlier at around 1:04 p.m Singapore time.
The cryptocurrency is up about 29% since the start of 2021 and in the past 12 months has surged over 380%.
Meanwhile, the value of the entire cryptocurrency market, which is made up of bitcoin and other digital coins like ether and tether, surpassed $1 trillion for the first time early on Thursday, according to data from Coinmarketcap.
Bitcoin's resurgence has been attributed to a number of factors including more buying from large institutional investors. High profile investors like Paul Tudor Jones, for example, have been buying bitcoin.
Many bitcoin bulls say the cryptocurrency is akin to "digital gold," a potential safe haven asset and a hedge against inflation. In a recent research note, JPMorgan said bitcoin could hit $146,000 in the long term as it competes with gold as an "alternative" currency. The investment bank's strategists noted that bitcoin would have to become substantially less volatile to reach this price, however. Bitcoin is known for wild price swings.
The idea of bitcoin as a hedge against inflation has continued to gain steam as governments around the world embark on large-scale fiscal stimulus programs. Analysts argue this could cause a spike in inflation.
"This latest bull run in January is sure to attract the asset managers' attention to diversify even more of their assets to crypto as they are keen on finding alternative investments, such as cryptocurrency or gold, to hedge inflation and geopolitical risks," Simons Chen, executive director of investment and trading at cryptocurrency financial services firm Babel Finance, told CNBC.
"A large number of retail investors have also joined the race recently as they fear to miss out on opportunities to make easy, quick gain from the latest bull run," he added.
But some bitcoin critics — such as David Rosenberg, economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research — have called bitcoin a bubble.
"The parabolic move in bitcoin in such a short time period, I would say for any security, is highly abnormal," Rosenberg told CNBC earlier this month.
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