by: Shanthi Rexaline, Benzinga Staff Writer
The breathtaking rally in bitcoin continues unabated, with the most popular among a myriad of cryptocurrencies hitting a fresh high of $6,600.84 Wednesday.
The bitcoin is currently trading up about 1 percent at $6,510.66.
The gains have catapulted bitcoin's market cap to a record $108.83 billion, with the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies combined together also at a record $183.59 billion, according toCoinmarketcap.com.
Putting things in perspective, the combined market cap of all digital currencies have now exceeded the market cap of Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS and Morgan StanleyMS put together, according to Reuters.
Created in 2009, bitcoin did not trade in any exchange in 2009, giving it a technical value of zero in the year of its inception. In 2010, when it began trading on exchanges, the highest value recorded was 39 cents. Given the $6,600, plus, value at which bitcoin is trading now, early investors, if they would have held onto their investment, would have pocketed staggering gains.
The surge in the valuation of cryptocurrencies should now keep skeptics, especially among Wall Street firms, at bay. JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM CEO Jamie Dimon had expressed his displeasure with the digital currencies at multiple forums in the past.
Analysts are optimistic that the rally in bitcoin has a further leg to play out, with some predicting bitcoin to hit $7,000 in the next few days and soaring to $10,000 by the end of 2017.
However, a near-term correction is seen amid the Nov. 16 hard fork of SegWit2x, which would change the size of the blocks passed around the network and stored in the blockchain from 1 MB to 2 MB.
Meanwhile, gold coins and other related products are losing luster, the Wall Street Journal said quoting analysts. Sales of gold dealers fell by a mammoth 70 percent year-over-year, the report added. Also, the value of "American Eagles," a gold coin considered a proxy for physical gold, is at a decade low.
The culprit that robbed the sheen off gold is said to be cryptocurrencies, which have now become safe havens, supplanting gold, which has traditionally served as a safer bet in times of distress.
Bitcoin has "taken some of the dedicated interest in gold away from gold," the Journal said quoting Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz SE.
El-Erian had warned at a CME Group event in September that cryptocurrencies could pose a long-term threat to the precious metal.
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