Bitcoin smashes above $20,000 for first time

Bitcoin smashed through $20,000 for the first time on Wednesday, marking a new milestone for the world’s largest and most well-known cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency jumped 4.5 percent to move as high as $20,440.

Bitcoin has experienced a powerful rally this year. It has soared more than 170 percent, driven largely by demand from big, institutional investors attracted by its potential for quick gains at a time when interest rates are near zero, as well as the cryptocurrency’s march toward becoming a mainstream method of payment.

Bitcoin received a major boost in October after PayPal Holdings, Inc announced the launch of a new service that allows its customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies directly from their PayPal account. The company also said it is planning to make cryptocurrencies available as a funding source for purchases at its 26 million merchants worldwide.

Like many other assets, Bitcoin crashed back in March, losing roughly 25 percent of its value as lockdowns swept the United States and Europe and investors liquidated assets in a desperate bid to hoard US dollars against the unprecedented upheaval in the global economy.

Since those March lows, it has come roaring back in its famously volatile fashion, powering ahead and slipping back as it made repeated charges at the $20,000 mark.

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