Bitcoin hits fresh 2019 high as it builds on sudden rally

HONG KONG • Cryptocurrency traders may not know what caused the abrupt surge in bitcoin on Tuesday, but they are going along for the ride anyway.

The biggest virtual currency climbed to a fresh 2019 high yesterday, building on a spike on Tuesday that many market participants struggled to explain.

Bitcoin increased as much as 5.9 per cent to US$5,087.54 at 11.10am in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Rivals coins, including Ether and XRP, also advanced.

With the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index now up more than 77 per cent from its low during the depths of last year's crash, the debate over whether virtual currency prices have bottomed is heating up.

Crypto diehards see Tuesday's surge as confirmation that a new bull market has begun, while bears argue that entrenched scepticism among regulators, institutional investors and consumers will make any rally temporary.

This week's price action has been encouraging, no matter how it pans out over the long term, according to Mr Timothy Tam, co-founder and chief executive officer of CoinFi, a cryptocurrency research firm in Hong Kong.

"We're testing new highs today," he said. "So I think this is quite positive for the market. We haven't seen a move like this in a long time."

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2019, with the headline 'Bitcoin hits fresh 2019 high as it builds on sudden rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe