The cryptocurrency is up over 200% this year and has been on a steady tear over the past few months.
For many bitcoin doubters, the sudden spike is reminiscent of the 2017 holidays, when, as one of my Quartz colleagues recently observed, “you could not stand in a group of three or more dudes and not talk about bitcoin.” That was the year bitcoin hit its previous all-time high, just over $19,700, before plummeting by 30%. Naysayers are watching for another drastic correction now.
However, investors and traders who believe bitcoin is more than a Ponzi scheme say that the 2020 surge is different, mainly because of who is shopping for it. Three years ago, the enthusiasm for the digital coin came from retail investors. This time, some major institutional investors have decided to join the market.
In May, Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire hedge fund manager and founder of Tudor Investment Company, made a splash by buying bitcoin, still a fringe asset to investors of his stature.
Jones was actually dipping in for the second time. In 2017, his fund bought and sold bitcoin, exiting near the asset’s all-time high, Bloomberg reports. This year, watching central banks spend billions to offset losses from the coronavirus pandemic, Jones went looking for a reliable hedge, according to a market outlook note he wrote in May, and bitcoin met his criteria.
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