Bitcoin has now hit a new all-time high price and continues steadily as the network prepares for the upcoming Taproot upgrade.
On Monday, Bitcoin (BTC) surged past the $68K price level to a new all-time high at $68,382.60 during Asian hours trading. This represents a gain of over 4% in early Asian trading on Tuesday for the largest digital currency by market cap. In addition, BTC, which has a market capitalization of over $1.29 trillion, joins Ether (ETH), Solana (SOL), and Polkadot (DOT) to hit relative record highs recently.
Since the beginning of October, the crypto marketplace has been in a generally bullish mode. It added almost $1 trillion to its overall market value, which now sits at approximately $3 trillion. In addition, the digital assets market is now four times as large as it was since its 2020 year-end value. BTC alone is up 130% year-to-date, particularly benefiting from the launch of the first US Bitcoin futures ETF back in October, The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF. The fund, which tracks Bitcoin futures, generated over $1.2 billion in sales volume on its debut.
While investors still view BTC as a hedge against inflation, central banks are battling inflation and COVID-19 pandemic effects. The US Federal Reserve is weighing its options on how best to tackle looming inflation, although some accuse the institution of stalling. For instance, ANZ Research, a markets and economic analyst issued a statement saying:
“Although Chair Powell maintains the Fed can be patient with regards to rate hikes, with measures of underlying inflation and wages intensifying and broadening, the clock is ticking on how long it can hold that line.”
Regardless of Bitcoin’s new win, Glassnode’s Monday report states that general Bitcoin balances on crypto exchanges are continuously reducing. It also mentioned that the network’s hashrate could hit new record highs before the end of the year. Bitcoin’s hashrate plunged earlier in the year after China renewed its crackdown against mining operations.
The Latest Bitcoin All-time High Precedes Taproot
Bitcoin plans to roll out its biggest upgrade in four years, with emphasis on improving transaction, privacy, and efficiency. The Taproot upgrade will also add smart contract functionality – a key feature of its blockchain technology. BTC’s planned upgrade comes even as bolder projections for its future price abound. For example, banking giant JP Morgan is certain that BTC could hit $146K by the end of the year, with a shorter-term price target of $70K.
Ethereum and Other Altcoins
Ether also surged to an all-time high of over $4,800 largely due to increased demand for its blockchain – Ethereum. A rising number of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications now call the Ethereum blockchain home. This has led to higher transaction fees for the protocol, which at one point hit $56. Digital assets provider Kaiko believes that this might cause users to explore other alternatives sooner than later. As Kaiko put it, this is “…making alternate networks that solve for scalability concerns more attractive.”
Apart from Ethereum, Solana and Cardano are up 23% and 9%, respectively. In addition, other altcoins – including meme coins DOGE and SHIB continue to attract speculative investors.