Bitcoin price nears all-time high of $66,000

Will the price of bitcoin cross the 70,000 dollar (60,425 euro) mark before the end of the year? “Given the craze for it and the huge influx of buyers rushing into risky assets, I wouldn’t be surprised if it even topped $80,000.” dares to predict Nicolas Chéron, market strategist at Zonebourse. On Wednesday morning, November 3, it was hovering around $63,000, not far from the historic high of $66,000, reached on October 20 – when it hardly exceeded $15,000 a year ago. The prices of other cryptocurrencies are also rising in its wake, such as that of ethereum, which broke a new record on Tuesday, November 2, by exceeding 4,500 dollars.

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This means that in a few years, these e-currencies, operating thanks to the blockchain, technology based on cryptography storage and transmission of information, have settled in the financial landscape. In particular bitcoin, the first of them, created in 2008 by a mysterious computer scientist. Its issuance is not controlled by a central bank, like the euro or the dollar, but by a computer protocol, designed to limit the final number of bitcoins in circulation to 21 million (18.8 million today) .

This programmed scarcity, sometimes compared to that of a raw material like gold, partly explains its success. “Many of the funds seeking to protect themselves from inflation today are abandoning gold to invest in bitcoin”, explains Mr. Chéron. This is also the great argument of its early supporters: they see this cryptocurrency as the ideal investment to retain value outside currencies controlled by central banks, which they consider unable to control inflation.

High volatility

If bitcoin still has a bad reputation – it is the preferred currency for ransom demands during computer hacks – it is also increasingly popular with traditional investment funds in search of yield. This, in part because “more and more cryptocurrency exchanges are choosing to be officially regulated”, notes Emilie Raffo, co-founder of ChainSecurity, a cybersecurity company, and author of the book The Future of Species (Dunod, 256 pages, €19.90), devoted to cryptocurrencies.

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Like the giant Coinbase, the largest American platform, which aims to shake up traditional finance players, including banks. On April 14, it made a sensational debut on Wall Street, with a valuation of 86 billion dollars. More often than not, however, investors like Goldman Sachs or hedge funds do not buy bitcoins directly. They favor financial products that have developed around them, such as futures contracts, which are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the very serious American futures market.

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