Bitcoin is retesting the $10,000 level – here's why it's so important

Last November, the price of bitcoin crossed the $10,000 level for the first time. The rest of 2017 was an explosive ride, shooting up near $20,000 per coin before closing out the year just above $13,400.

Now, we're right back to last November, making note of bitcoin breaking above $10,000 Thursday midday for the first time in two weeks.

Of course, the atmosphere is quite different. Bitcoin futures have launched, regulators have stepped in more aggressively and the price of the largest cryptocurrency has tumbled nearly 50 percent from its all-time high.

In this environment, this week, "bitcoin $10,000" has taken on meaning unlike what we saw last year. If we could see the coin hold this level significantly, then it will start the next wave higher, attracting fresh capital into the market after the recent massive sell-off.

The aggressive sell-off from over $19,000 late last year to just above $7,000 earlier this month was most likely the crypto bubble burst that we'd all been waiting for, clearing out all those late to the party.

Relaxation from South Korean officials in their efforts to halt bitcoin speculation has started to again build confidence in the market, along with a rise in other major cryptocurrencies, such as litecoin and ethereum. Hedgers, too, have pared back activity as the price has fallen.

At this time, we seem to be witnessing a sort of test phase in how outside markets are intermingling with bitcoin's price. With bitcoin futures trading for two months, we are beginning to see a clearer picture of how equity and currency markets are impacting them.

For instance, the S&P 500 tested its 200-day moving average on Feb. 6, just as bitcoin tested its contract low at $5,940. Does this mean that if U.S. equities continue running higher after their recent tumble, bitcoin will have a chance to retest that $20,000 mark?

Time will tell.

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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET). In addition, he contributes to CNBC and CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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