Bitcoin has broken through the US$8,000 mark again as enthusiasts welcome the return of FOMO.

By David Walker

Posted on May 14, 2019

Bitcoin mania is back. The digital currency that is also one of world’s most volatile assets rose more than US$1,000 yesterday, and it briefly traded at more than US$8,000.

Bitcoin’s USD price has now risen by 115% since the start of 2019 and has doubled since late March.

The reason for the sudden rise is not clear. But cryptocurrency enthusiasts hope the rise signals the beginning of a new bull market for the currency.

Declared crypto site News BTC: “It’s clear there’s FOMO – the fear of missing out – in the air, as crypto traders and investors who were waiting to buy Bitcoin back lower than $3,150 are coming to the difficult realisation that they missed their chance and are stuck buying Bitcoin back at increasingly higher prices.”

The digital currency has blown out in a similar way before, doubling in six weeks in late 2017 to reach a high above US$19,900 before a year-long slide.

This new surge hasn’t been cut short by new cryptocurrency management issues which might be considered scandals in other industries.

It comes just days after hackers stole more than 7,000 bitcoin from crypto exchange Binance, now rated the world’s largest exchange for bitcoin. The company said “malicious actors” were able to access API keys, two-factor authentication codes and “potentially other info”, and promised “a thorough security review”.

Despite its size – the stolen bitcoin was worth US$40 million – the Binance hack is only the sixth-largest in Bitcoin’s history.

And on 26 April another of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitfinex, was accused by the New York attorney general of misbehaviour over its dealings in another cryptocurrency, Tether. Bitfinex shares management and shareholders with the company behind Tether, Tether Inc.

Other cryptocurrency prices have also jumped on the back of bitcoin’s resurgence. While a large number of cryptocurrencies are now traded, bitcoin has roughly 60% of the cryptocurrency market by value.

Ironically, the latest cryptocurrency surge came on the same day that consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a report saying that the cryptocurrency hedge funds that survived the 2018 market collapse lost almost half their assets.

PwC says that around 150 active cryptocurrency hedge funds manage a total of around US$1 billion in crypto assets – although that number has presumably risen substantially in the past six weeks.