approached $20,000 in 2017 and finally topped the mark in 2020. What drove the rallies, and what happened in the days following the peaks, show how much the market has changed in three years.
The digital currency, which has more than tripled in price this year, hit its first record of the year 24 days ago and has continued climbing, trading as high as $24,273 on Sunday. On Wednesday, it closed at $23,299. In previous rallies, such gains have quickly reversed course.
Bitcoin bulls say the money fueling this year’s rally is coming from more reliable sources than past rallies. Since September, big new investors have collectively bought about half a million bitcoins, worth about $11.5 billion, according to analytics firm Chainalysis, which tracked the holdings of investors with at least 1,000 bitcoins in wallets that are less than a year old.
Notable buyers this year include billionaire investors Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller, and companies like Square Inc., Microstrategy Inc. and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.
There are more smaller buyers, too. There have been more than 38 million transfers this year of less than $1,000 of bitcoin into personal wallets, according to Chainalysis. That is nearly double the 20 million in 2017.