PORTLAND, OREGON (BLOOMBERG) - Bitcoin rose to an all-time high as investors looked to hedge against potential global uncertainty related to policies of President Donald Trump and speculated that his administration will relax regulations governing the digital currency.
The cryptocurrency rose 3.1 per cent to US$1,164.10 at the 5pm close in New York on Thursday (Feb 23), according to data compiled by Bloomberg, topping the all-time closing high of US$1,137 set in November 2013.
Bitcoin has been volatile in recent weeks, plunging as low as US$789 on Jan 11, as Chinese authorities tightened their monitoring and regulation of the country's bitcoin exchanges. With residents there trying to avoid capital controls, China accounts for the lion's share of bitcoin trading. The currency has stayed at more than US$1,000 for its longest-ever stretch, according to researcher CoinDesk.
The latest rally is likely unconnected to China, and instead relates to global political uncertainty created by statements and policies of President Trump, Mr Mark Bunger, an analyst at Lux Research, said in an interview.
Some investors may also be pushing the digital currency's price up, hoping the administration will relax financial-industry regulations, potentially making bitcoin easier to use and build businesses around, Mr Bunger said.
"This is all Trump and the ripple effects of Trump," Mr Bunger said.
There is also another factor: Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust may learn in the next several weeks whether its exchange-traded fund will be approved. If allowed to proceed, the fund could potentially attract more investors to bitcoin.
The digital currency isn't regulated by any government and has been used by consumers worldwide to shelter assets from inflation or political upheavals in their home countries. Last year, bitcoin outperformed all major foreign-exchange trades, stock indexes, and currencies and commodity contracts. That's why some believe the price will eventually go even higher.
"Higher market caps for all cryptocurrencies will mean that more people will pay attention," William Mougayar, author of The Business Blockchain (Wiley, 2016), said in an e-mail. "Bitcoin is leading the way, of course."