Despite all the hoopla of the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 reaching new all-time highs here in 2017, or the fact that Amazon stock has now made Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world (or at least on the Forbes list), neither of these equities have come close to Bitcoin or Ethereum in gains for the first half of the year.
Digital currencies hit a number of key milestones in 2017, including breaking into the 12-digit club, as the combined market value of all cryptocurrencies—led especially by bitcoin and ethereum—surpassed $100 billion for the first time ever, and currently stands near $104 billion.
Cryptocurrencies have become so prominent that major semiconductor stocks have started to move based on how readily their chips are used by “miners,” who use high-powered computers in a race to solve complex puzzles. Those who solve these problems are rewarded with the digital gold of bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Still, the overall trend in crypto in 2017, as it was last year, was shockingly positive. The price of single bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.76% currently sits at $2,565.47, up 165% thus far this year, though down 15% from a record high above $3,000 hit earlier this month.
Gains for ethereum has been even more pronounced. Not only has bitcoin’s chief rival surged past it in terms of daily trading volume, according to CoinDesk data, but it is also up nearly 3,500% on the year, having rallied from $8.40 at the end of 2016 to a shade under $300 presently.
The size and scope of the rallies in digital currencies easily eclipses the year-to-date move of more traditional assets like stocks. For example, the S&P 500 indexSPX, -0.85% despite enjoying its own run-up, has gained a much milder 9% year to date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.74% is up 8.6%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.57% is up a touch more than 15% in 2017. Among the best performing commodities, palladium PAN7, -1.77% is up more than 25% on the year. None of those rallies approach the year-to-date surges in popular cryptocurrencies.
With the expected increase of cryptocurrencies from their current number of around 780 into the thousands over the next few years, more and more wealth will be moving away from stocks, bonds, and sovereign currencies into this new market. And subsequently, this paradigm shift is likely to keep the cryptocurrency sphere high up on the list of best performing assets now, and well into the future.
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