Hailed by Bloomberg as one of the best performing assets of 2016, Bitcoin has continued its historic price rally throughout most of 2017.
70% Growth in the Last 90 Days
In the last three months alone, bitcoin has grown from $997 to $1760, as of this writing. It has tested $1800 several times over the past few days. Industry pundits attribute the rally to increasing interest from mainstream investors. News of regulatory acceptance in countries like Japan and the Philippines may have helped assuage some investor concerns over the cryptocurrency’s legal status.
Most recently, Australia announced that consumers would no longer be taxed GST when they paid for goods and services using Bitcoin, a move that Australian entrepreneurs think will drive adoption and “make digital currency a more legitimate form of payment for local businesses.”
A New Crypto Market Leader Has Emerged
One country that continues to struggle with regulatory uncertainty is China. The People’s Bank of China’s investigations into the largest Bitcoin exchanges in their country has been ongoing since February, severely reducing exchange volume and driving much of the trading to informal channels.
Meanwhile, Japan has emerged as the new market leader. The fast-growing Japanese exchange Coincheck was recently reported as being responsible for 14% of global trading volume.
It’s been a great two years for the world’s premier cryptocurrency. A little over 24 months ago, it had a market cap that barely touched $4bn. As of this week, that’s expanded over 700% to its current $29bn size. At the same time, interest in younger cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Dash have grown the whole industry to over $52B. As a result, Bitcoin barely accounts for 52% of that total market share.
Yesterday, Chinese business news site Caixin reported that the three largest Bitcoin exchanges in China would face penalties of an undisclosed amount, but would otherwise be allowed to resume all normal operations in June.
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