The price of bitcoin and other digital currencies rose on Thursday, with bitcoin hovering near record levels and extending a healthy year-to-date advance.
The climb in the asset class came on one of the weakest days for U.S. stocks in recent trading. The S&P 500 index fell 1%, on track for its biggest one-day decline since mid May amid tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. In the past, political or economic uncertainty has contributed to gains in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with investors using them as a diversification tool as they have little correlation to other asset classes.
The value of a single bitcoin
rose 2.8% to $3,470.84, eclipsing a record seen earlier this week. Bitcoin prices have more than tripled thus far this year, up about 260%, and they have risen almost 80% from a recent low hit on July 16.
At current levels, bitcoin’s market capitalization is $56.9 billion, making it larger than such notable companies as FedEx Corp.
and General Motors
Ether, the cryptocurrency that runs on the Ethereum network, rose 1.1% to $297.47 on Thursday. Bitcoin’s chief rival has been extremely volatile this year, although it remains a massive year-to-date gainer, up more than 3,000%.
Despite that, it remains down more than 20% from its own record, hit in mid-July, even as it has recovered 50% from a recent low hit on July 26. Currently, the market cap of Ether is around $27.9 billion.
For the entire cryptocurrency space, which includes dozens of digital currencies—many of which are extremely small or thinly traded—the combined market capitalization is $124.3 billion, according to CoinMarketcap.com.