That said, bitcoin is not a stock and comparisons to other stocks' market value, especially major U.S. market gainers like Netflix, are more to illustrate the significant size of interest in the digital currency.
In addition, bitcoin's market value theoretically reflects interest in the potential for bitcoin to become a global means of payment.
At the very least, many digital currency enthusiasts expect bitcoin to become "digital gold." But gold's market value of about $7.5 trillion dwarfs that of bitcoin by 100 times.
At Thursday's record highs, bitcoin would rank 72nd by market value in the S&P 500 and 28th in the Dow Jones industrial average, just behind American Express' $78 billion market capitalization.
Bitcoin's market value also tops those of leaders in a variety of major industries, including software company Adobe, financial technology firm PayPal, investment giant BlackRock, industrial company Caterpillar and package shipping company FedEx.
To Ari Paul, chief investment officer of cryptocurrency investment firm BlockTower Capital, a better analogy is comparing bitcoin with PayPal's market capitalization.
"PayPal was initially created with a similar vision to bitcoin — as permissionless money," Paul said. "PayPal wasn't able to fulfill that vision, but bitcoin is well on the way. Bitcoin can be used to transfer $100 million anywhere in the world in 10 minutes and for less than $2. Bitcoin rising in value above PayPal reflects its growing role as the best way to move money globally."