Bitcoin has rallied into new all-time highs above $53,700, pushing its market cap above $1 trillion for the first time.
Bitcoin’s late 2020 rally appeared to be sparked by an unprecedented wave of demand from institutions and billionaires, with the trend set after the world’s largest publicly traded business intelligence company, MicroStrategy, revealed it had converted $250 million of its treasury into BTC on Aug. 11.
BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView
By the end of January 2021, MicroStrategy had invested $1.095 billion to accumulate 71,079 BTC or 0.38% of Bitcoin’s circulating supply. In early February, the firm hosted a free webinar providing strategies for incorporating Bitcoin into corporate treasury reserves and MicroStrategy is currently in the process of raising a further $900M to buy more BTC.
Institutional asset manager, Grayscale also aggressively ramped up its Bitcoin accumulation during 2020, with its Bitcoin Trust reporting an 872% increase in assets under management from $1.8 billion at the start of the year to $17.5 billion at the start of January. To date, Grayscale has purchased Bitcoin at a rate that is faster than new BTC supply being created.
On Feb. 8, news that Tesla CEO Elon Musk had invested $1.5 billion or 7.7% of the electric vehicle maker’s treasury into BTC sent the Bitcoin price soaring to new all-time highs above $43,000.
And the bullish institutional news just keeps coming, with rumors suggesting Twitter may become the next major firm to add Bitcoin to its balance sheet, and mega banks like BNY Mellon and Deutsche Bank announcing moves to introduce BTC custody services. Major funds like BlackRock, and Morgan Stanley are considering whether an investment into Bitcoin is warranted.
The $1 trillion milestone follows 12 months of extreme volatility for Bitcoin, with BTC’s capitalization increasing by more than 10 times since the depths of the “Black Thursday” crash in March 2020.
Amid the increasing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, former U.S. president Donald Trump introduced a travel ban from Europe to the United States on March 11, with many nations across the world entering into total lockdowns.
The rising panic caused chaos in the cryptocurrency and legacy financial markets as the price of Bitcoin crashed more than 50% on March 11 to less than $4,000 by March 13 — triggering wholesale liquidations across leveraged exchanges. On March 13, Bitcoin’s market cap was sitting below $100 billion for the first time since May 2019.
Bitcoin price on Black Thursday. Source: TradingView
Despite the carnage, opportunistic buyers steadily pushed prices back up while accumulating in anticipation of Bitcoin’s third block reward halving in May 2020. BTC briefly reclaimed $10,000 during May after it was revealed that renowned billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones had invested in BTC as a hedge against inflation.
While 2020’s third-quarter DeFi bull market and the excitement for Ethereum’s Eth.2 overhaul would steal the spotlight away from BTC, many of the profits gleaned from the DeFi boom appeared quickly to make their way into Bitcoin — with BTC rocketing past $12,000 at the end of October. It tested its record highs from 2017 towards the end of November after PayPal launched crypto trading services in the United States.
Due to its increased supply since 2017, Bitcoin posted a new record market cap on Nov. 18, with the capitalization of BTC pushing above $326.5B for the first time its price rallied past $18,000.
Bitcoin’s market cap has since more than tripled in roughly three months, with BTC’s December push into new all-time price highs driving the rally into high gear.
It took Bitcoin just 12 years to grow from an obscure academic whitepaper to a $1 trillion dollar decentralized network, becoming the eighth tradable asset to currently boast a thirteen-figure market cap.
By contrast, it took Microsoft 45 years for its capitalization to exceed $1 trillion. Amazon took 27 years and Google achieved the $1 trillion mark in just 22 years.
Now the question is, how long will it take before Bitcoin approaches the market cap of gold?