Bitcoin (BTC/USD) just hit $300 for the first time since the latest Greek debt crisis in July, jumping by 5.3% during the past 24 hours.
The psychologically important milestone is likely to grab the attention of bitcoin traders, many of whom have been eagerly awaiting this moment, and even elements of the broader trading world who have begun following bitcoin.
Since falling hard to start 2015, bitcoin has yet to trade in positive territory this year. It has broken back above $300 on only two occasions, and barely lasted above the mark longer than 24 hours each time.
In these instances, bitcoin’s foray above $300 was wild and driven by hype. In January, Bitcoiners were bullish in anticipation of Coinbase’s launch of its own bitcoin exchange. Coinbase helped things along with its mysterious “to-the-moon” theme in the days leading up to the announcement.
In July, bitcoin’s gains accelerated throughout the final weekend of Greece-eurozone negotiations, when it seemed that a Grexit was a certainty. The price collapsed when a last minute deal was reached.
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The latest rally, however, has been far more tame, and therefore, may have a better chance of lasting. Should bitcoin put together 2-3 days above $300, the chances of a bigger rally into positive territory (>$320) for 2015 are pretty good.
After hitting $296 following big gains this past weekend, volatility increased and bitcoin briefly fell below $280. Since that low, it has risen by 7.5%- a figure that deviates from the calmer behavior prevalent throughout October.
Bitcoin touched exactly $300 at 14:36 UTC on Bitstamp. It has not yet reached the mark on Bitfinex, BTC-e, Kraken or Coinbase, but hit the equivalent of $307 in yuan-based trading on Huobi and OKCoin, and a similar figure in euro-based trading on Bitcoin.de.
The Bitstamp milestone has thus far been short-lived, lasting less than two minutes. Bitcoin fell back to $294 and has not yet returned to its high.
Publicly traded shares of Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTMKTS:GBTC), which track bitcoin’s value, reacted sluggishly to the news. They continued the recent trend of shedding their premium value to bitcoin’s price, which was typically in the range of 10% to 25% since public launch.
Shares were trading at $28.00 when bitcoin hit $300, representing a 2.8% discount. They hit a high of $28.50 (a premium of 0.6%), but are now trading at $27.00 (a 4.4% discount).