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Bitcoin staged a minor recovery on Monday, finally topping the $3,400 level after weeks of pain.
The cryptocurrency has nosedived by more than 80 percent from the all-time high hit exactly a year ago. On December 17, 2017 bitcoin peaked just above $19,475, according to CoinMarketCap.com. It has struggled to come anywhere close to that level since.
Monday's move was its best daily performance since the last week of November, according to industry data site CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency jumped 11 percent to a high of $3,437.57, but has dropped by more than 50 percent in the past three months.
"As a relatively new concept, cryptoassets are still finding their feet in terms of value," said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro. "It's important to remember that all assets, in every market, experience a process of price discovery, and that cryptos are no different.
Since the peak last year, the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization has fallen by more than 80 percent. The market value went from $592 billion in December 2017 to about $109 billion this week, according to CoinMarketCap.
Still, the industry has grown rapidly since its inception 10 years ago and the $3,400 level is well above the fraction of a penny where bitcoin first began trading. Last year's performance put bitcoin on the map, especially among retail investors.
Bitcoin kicked off last year below $1,000 and by December brought its total gains to 1,300 percent, according to CoinDesk. Those gains brought in a new era of crypto millionaires, who in some cases, publicized their gains and Lamborghinis on Twitter.
The growth also ushered in some institutional interest. Fidelity announced a cryptocurrency custody solution this year, and the Nasdaq and NYSE's parent company ICE both plan to launch bitcoin futures in 2019.
"Since its inception 10 years ago, bitcoin has already experienced four retracements, similar to what we've seen in the past year," Greenspan said. "Bitcoin will find its natural centre of gravity, it's just a matter of time."