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Bitcoin charted: How crypto broke new price records - and where it goes from here

Institutional investment into bitcoin rose significantly in 2020 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Institutional investment into bitcoin rose significantly in 2020 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Bitcoin is close to its all-time price high following a remarkable recovery that has seen it triple in value over the last 12 months.

On Tuesday, the cryptocurrency came within a few hundred dollars of its previous record of $68,990, which it achieved in November 2021.

This all-time high was succeeded by a massive price correction that was compounded by collapsing cryptocurrency exchanges and failed crypto tokens.

So how did bitcoin get back here?

Here are six charts illustrating its potentially record-breaking rally.

After consolidating its losses following the crash, bitcoin began to climb steadily in price until late 2023. This is when rumours of an industry-defining event began to supercharge the rally. For years there had been speculation that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was going to approve a bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF), a type of security that would open up the market to billions of dollars worth of institutional investors. These rumours turned out to be true, when the SEC approved a wave of ETFs, triggering the second leg of the current price run.

With the ETFs only applying to bitcoin, and not other cryptocurrencies, it was inevitable that its market dominance would increase. Since the start of 2023, bitcoin’s share of the crypto market has risen from around 40 per cent to above 50 per cent. As the world’s first cryptocurrency, bitcoin’s price movements are often mimicked by other cryptocurrencies.

Similar to previous price rallies, bitcoin has seen the biggest gains since the recovery began. Other leading cryptocurrencies are experiencing their own resurgences in recent months, with Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA) both mirroring the movements of bitcoin. If previous cycles repeat themselves, both of these cryptocurrencies will be expected to test their own record-highs over the coming weeks and months. The meme-inspired dogecoin (DOGE) is far more susceptible to external influences, such as Elon Musk famously endorsing it during its last record-breaking rally. In recent days it has more than doubled in value, though remains a long way off its all-time high.

Bitcoin’s price increase has pushed its market cap above $1.3 trillion, putting it on par with that of silver. Its return to form has already seen it surpass the likes of Facebook-owner Meta and Tesla. The number of new bitcoins that have been mined since its last record high means this is the highest its market cap has been in its 15 year history. Its fixed supply has often drawn comparisons to the number one asset on this list, with some advocates referring to it as ‘digital gold’. While it may well overtake silver, bitcoin has a long way to go before it reaches the $14 trillion market value of gold.

Those who refute the comparisons between bitcoin and gold often point to the former’s price volatility. The dramatic swings make it far too risky to be considered a safe store-of-value, though some believe that improved regulation and increased institutional involvement could see the price of bitcoin eventually begin to settle.

With each major price crash, there are always analysts and pundits ready to proclaim the death of bitcoin. These reached a peak during the crash of 2017-18, according to data gathered by 99Bitcoins, though 2021 saw a fresh wave after bitcoin fell sharply from its record high. As with previous record highs, bitcoin is broadly expected to experience another significant correction at some point, though opinions are divided as to when.