Bitcoin Hits Another All-Time High — $50,000

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The digital asset reached a high of $50,689.18 before 8 AM EST at Binance, the largest market for BTC with over 5% of its daily volume, according to CoinMarketCap — a price data site owned by Binance.

BTC began this year at a value around $29,000, up from about $7,000 a year before. In December, it broke an all-time high set in its 2017 bull run, finally hitting $20,000 as new institutional investors and high-profile corporations such as PayPal began buying in.

Historically, Bitcoin has grown in cycles of parabolic ascent and “crashes” down to prices far above the previous cycle’s highs. The asset has undergone two major bear markets — in 2014 and 2018 — corresponding to its “halving,” a feature of the software that slows the system’s monetary supply growth by half roughly every four years. After each cut to the issuance rate, the resulting scarcity when buying newly-minted Bitcoins has led to record-high prices and sharp corrections.

A third “halving” took place in May 2020, and by mid-fall, prices began to approach previous highs. By mid-December, BTC began a new cycle of price discovery.

Bitcoin’s slowing issuance will ultimately make it a deflationary currency, providing an alternative to central banking systems. For example, the U.S. dollar is inflationary by design, which incentivizes spending and long-term debt and penalizes personal savings. Before Bitcoin, the most common way for the middle class to beat inflation was by investing in the stock market, enriching brokers and third parties via fees and penalties for withdrawal before retirement.