There is never been a lack of skepticism surrounding cryptocurrency. And it’s fair to say the jury still wavers at times. But with 2021 just a week old, the world’s most polarizing and misunderstood currency is actually making a strong case for its staying power.
On Thursday, the price of a single Bitcoin, the oldest virtual currency, topped $40,000 for the first time, according to Business Insider. The twelve percent increase on the day pushed the total value of Bitcoin to more than $700 billion and all cryptocurrency to more than $1 trillion for the very first time.
Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto is thought to own around 1 million bitcoins. Most of these were mined in the first 2 years of Bitcoin’s existence when there was little competition. In case he still has copies of the private keys that control these coins, that would give him a net worth of nearly $forty billion – enough to make him among the fourthy wealthiest folks on the planet. Nakamoto has never publicly revealed his real identity and hasn’t communicated publicly since 2014.
For now, the news is good. With a market cap of over $1 trillion, cryptocurrencies are now worth almost half almost as Apple, the world’s most valuable company, reports Business Insider. It also makes the best cryptocurrencies more valuable than the entire Swiss economy.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, brothers who became famous for their legal battle with Mark Zuckerberg over the origins of Facebook, are also major holders of bitcoins. At the peak of the last bitcoin boom in 2017, the Winklevoss brothers had $1.3 billion in bitcoin, according to The New York Times. That same bitcoin hoard would be worth $2.6 billion today.
While bitcoin is undoubtedly playing a huge role in these movements, they are also being driven by alternative cryptocurrencies, known as altcoins, making significant gains. In the last five days Ethereum, XRP, stellar, chainlink, litecoin, bitcoin cash, tezos and cardano have each provided returns in excess of 20%. The headliner is stellar, which gained 138%. If bitcoin continues to climb, perhaps aided by additional stimulus measures following the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th president of the United States USM , altcoins could be poised for additional future growth as they typically follow bitcoin’s lead.