Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin breaks above $16,000 for the first time since January 2018

Key Points
  • Bitcoin's price price rose as high as $16,019 just after 5 a.m. ET, according to data from industry site CoinDesk.
  • The reason for the move higher wasn't immediately clear, though some experts have suggested a link with the U.S. election.
  • Bitcoin has more than doubled in value this year, a wild climb reminiscent of its monster rally in 2017.
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Bitcoin briefly climbed above the $16,000 mark on Thursday, hitting a level not seen since early January 2018.

The cryptocurrency's price rose as high as $16,019 just after 5 a.m. ET, according to data from industry site CoinDesk. It was last trading at around $15,887, up more than 1% in the last 24 hours.

The last time bitcoin breached the $16,000 level was Jan. 8, 2018, according to CoinDesk data. The reason for the move higher on Thursday wasn't immediately clear, though some experts have suggested a link with the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

"The US Election helped push BTC over the 14K resistance, both sides want more stimulus which is positive for equities which BTC has been correlating closely with throughout the year," Nicholas Pelecanos, head of trading at crypto firm NEM, told CNBC.

"With a Republican Senate and Democratic President, stimulus might be slow coming, which could force the Federal Reserve System to run a more aggressive quantitative easing (QE) program to help keep the economy running."

Bitcoin, the world's best-known and most valuable cryptocurrency, has more than doubled in price this year, a wild run that's reminiscent of its monster rally in late 2017 that saw it narrow in on the $20,000 mark.

Some crypto fans say it's down to the unprecedented wave of stimulus from governments and central banks around the world aimed at tackling the coronavirus crisis. Such measures, they say, devalues fiat currencies, making bitcoin an attractive alternative.

The PayPal effect

It also comes as a number of companies appear to be warming to crypto.

Last month, fintech giant PayPal announced it would add new features letting users trade bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash and litecoin. By early 2021, the company also plans to let customers use crypto to shop with its network of 26 million retailers.

Meanwhile, Square said last month that it had bought $50 million worth of bitcoin. The U.S. fintech firm, which is run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has long offered crypto services to users of its popular Cash app.

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