Last week, Bitcoin hit an all-time high in value that was slightly north of $17,000. At time of writing, it's still hovering between $16,000 and $17,000. If you've been paying attention to the behavior of the cryptocurrency long enough, you've seen a spike or two (and a fall or two), but you also know the 'coin has never ramped up quite like this before.
In an effort to make sense of it all, we asked a few experts to give us their opinions on what's going on. Here's what they wanted us (and you) to know:
Financial exchanges are finally buying into Bitcoin, and that explains some of its growth
Chris Sweis, Founder, Crypto Dinner Club & Tokei: [December 11], the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is going to start futures contracts so that global traders can trade crypto. The NASDAQ's right after them in January. Japan is right after them.
Rodrigo Souza, CEO, Blinktrade: You see all the exchanges, all the regulated entities, trying to get involved. This kind of signals to the market that Bitcoin is here, it's to stay.
But it's not just Wall Street: The developing world is helping Bitcoin, too
David Levine, CEO, Indeco: People think of Bitcoin as a value store. I think there's more Chinese holders of Bitcoin by a large amount – I've heard 70-80 percent as opposed to others, because you're not really guaranteed in the banking infrastructure in the same way. Certainly Zimbabwe and these other ... you know, Venezuela, India there was a lot of Bitcoin buying, because people were worried about the fiat currency.
Souza: Countries where the central bank either has failed, like Venezuela, or it's going to fail ... people are kind of like, "Oh, I don't know what will happen, but I think I will be better protected if I either buy gold or bitcoins."
The big 2013 Bitcoin increase was way phonier than this one
Sweis: In 2013, we had the Willy bot. It was a bot created by Mark Karpeles from Mt Gox, and it was a trading bot. It was designed to artificially inflate the price of Bitcoin all the way to $1,200.
Souza: From $1,000, it crashed to, like, $500, and it stayed down for the whole year until it reached the minimum of $168. It took almost two years to hit $1,000 again.
Sweis: This, what we're seeing right now, is real people going to Coinbase, saying, "Listen, I'm getting into this Bitcoin s---. I've heard about it, I've seen it. I don't know what it is, but I'm getting in.
In other words: Experts have reasons to believe this Bitcoin spike isn't a 'bubble'
Sweis: Everyone keeps saying there's a bubble, right? Where's the f---ing bubble?! There's no f---ing bubble! For there to be a bubble, there has to be diminishing demand, right? There's no f---ing diminishing demand! C'mon, man!