Bitcoin price nears $10,000 as market cap overtakes IBM, Disney and McDonald's, but bubble warnings persist

 
Lynsey Barber
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Many are on the edge of their seat watching bitcoin's rise (Source: Getty)

Bitcoin believers have been left eagerly awaiting the cryptocurrency's biggest ever milestone as it hovers just shy of $10,000 and its total market value overtakes some of the world's biggest businesses.

It has surged to a fresh record high on Monday, however, hitting $9,732.76 after breaking the $9,000 mark on Sunday, inflating expectations that it will surge higher.

"We’re seeing strong flows with leveraged traders almost entirely long. While we shouldn’t put too much truck in round numbers, the performance has been mesmerising and it is a sign of sky-high demand," said ETX Capital senior market analyst Neil Wilson, adding that it was just a question of time of it hitting that expected milestone.

Read more: Bitcoin's just smashed past $9,000

"The pace of change or momentum is exceptional but has since tailed off with the market pausing for breath and consolidating for another shot higher. Needless to say Bitcoin looks ‘overbought’ based on technical indicators, but not exceptionally so," he said.

Wilson was damning despite the rise. "The only way it has value is if the next guy is willing to pay you more for it – the greater fool. With no intrinsic value to Bitcoin, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a giant speculative bubble.”

And he's not the only one talking of a bubble in the notoriously volatile world of bitcoin, which is now worth more than IBM, Disney and McDonald's.

"Bitcoin passing the $9,000 mark will spark more talk of a crash," said Nicholas Gregory, chief executive of blockchain startup Comerceblock who formerly worked at JP Morgan.

"However, it’s important to remember that a correction is certain sooner or later. A bubble popping and a viable longer term future are not mutually exclusive. We've seen this with the dotcom bubble," he said.

"Real proponents of cryptocurrency aren’t interested in bitcoin’s price. Widespread adoption is the big prize and too much hype only puts ordinary people off."

Read more: Bitcoin goes institutional: First European mutual fund launches

Charles Hayter of Cryptocompare said: "The risk of something moving up so quickly is that it comes down to earth with a bump - and that could leave regulation with a bad taste in its mouth. In the meantime the wealth generated in the crypto space is helping to develop it and push forward into new projects."

In terms of investors, Hayter said they will be looking to take profits and reevaluate their positions. "There will be some churn as overweight bitcoiners wash into other cryptos searching for yield," he said.

"Promises of bitcoin futures opening the door to institutional money are supercharging the price - Institutional flows are contributing to this surge and revaluation. The first ETF's should stimulate demand for bitcoin and this is why the smart money has entered early."

The value of bitcoin has now risen more than 900 per cent since the start of the year.

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