After dizzying gyrations, what is bitcoin really worth?
After the latest mad rush takes the cryptocurrency poster above $ 40,000 before a stomach plunge, the million dollar question will not go away: how much is bitcoin actually worth?
Virtual currency hit new highs to rise over 400% over the past year, before quickly slipping 20%, then settling around $ 36,000.
When it began life in 2009 as open source software, bitcoin was essentially worth zero – although within a year it had hit heady highs of eight cents.
At rates Current market prices, inflated by surging institutional demand, the digital unit’s market cap is worth around $ 670 billion along with a myriad of other cryptocurrencies such as ethereum, bringing the sector nominally close to the trillion.
Although these are small potatoes compared to the roughly $ 68 trillion that circulated slow on global stock markets, it is nonetheless the type of financial territory marked by the tech royalty of Wall Street such as Google, Apple or Tesla.
A tech site, AssetDash.com, notes that bitcoin Currently worth as much as Facebook and a little more than Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Although deep-pocketed investors have recently become devotees , crypto was in its infancy the prerogative of amateur geek investors.
It is the latter who have mainly suffered as approximately four million of the roughly 19 million units of bitcoin currently in circulation were lost.
“Lost” does not mean that the parts fell into the back of the sofa or through a hole in a trouser pocket: they were electronically zapped from the backrest, often because their owner forgot a password for the rooms es stored on a USB stick.
An American developer has lost his password after storing 7,002 bitcoins on one of these flash drives, forcing him to say goodbye, on paper (or rather on the trading screen), at around $ 280 million.
This week, Welshman James Howells desperately offered his local authorities a quarter of his fortune to unearth a landfill where he believes a hard drive that he accidentally threw away – and whose value has since grown to around $ 270 million – is buried. The council refused, citing the cost and logistical restrictions.
Istanbul’s “Bitcoin Change” store near the Grand Bazaar – but how many the virtual unit is worth it, it changes a lot from day to day.
Depending on JP Morgan analysts, bitcoin can be very volatile but could reach $ 146,000 per unit, putting it in competition with gold as an asset class in terms of private sector investment.
This volatility, along with the unregulated and decentralized nature of the Bitcoin beast, are the main reasons many seasoned financial watchers are scared – as well as the risk of ‘losing’ their stash.
Most lost bitcoins were acquired in the early days, said Philip Gradwell, economist at Chainalysis.
Gradwell said that about one in five bitcoin in circulation today Hui hadn’t moved from its location in five years – in days when the unit wasn’t worth much more than $ 100.
“One or two million of them belong to Satoshi himself,” Gradwell added, referring to the creator of the piece, whose identity remains unknown.
He added that the Most investors aren’t day-to-day traders, but long-term punters – and he estimates that the dramatic price spike in recent weeks has only involved around five million dollars. units.
Patrick Heusser, head of trading at Swiss trader Crypto Broker, said tracking trading volumes for a variety of cryptocurrencies, rather than just bitcoin, would give a better idea of the market situation.
“Ethereum has a lot of activity on the chain, but on the litecoin side, almost nothing is happening,” Heusser said, with the former valued at around $ 138 billion. dollars currently, and the second at $ 10 billion.
Heusser suggested that the increases were much of a Bitcoin wake effect, and he cautioned against drawing parallels to gold.
“To be honest, I don’t think this is a very powerful or insightful metric in what’s going on in the crypto market, ”Heusser concluded.
After years of experience in traditional currency markets, he felt the crypto equivalent was early.
“We are still a little fish,” he said.