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Bitcoin surges to top $60,000, putting it within striking distance of all-time high

Bitcoin (BTC-USD) surged on Wednesday to break above $60,000, putting it within striking distance of its all-time high as enthusiasm for the world’s largest cryptocurrency reached a frenzy last seen during a 2021 boom.

The digital asset climbed as high as $63,900, touching its highest intraday point since November 2021, before dropping back to the $60,000 level amid reports that some users of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) began showing a $0 balance in their accounts.

Coinbase first said on its website that "we are aware that some users may see a zero balance across their Coinbase accounts and may experience errors in buying or selling" but that "your assets are safe."


A second update said "we’re beginning to see improvement in customer trading. Due to increased traffic, some customers may still see errors in login, sends, receives and with some payment methods." A third update offered the assurance that "we are starting to see activity normalizing."

Its CEO Brian Armstrong also tried to calm customers Wednesday. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, he first said that "we are dealing with a LARGE surge of traffic — apologies for any issues you encounter. The team is working to remediate."

Later in the day he said "apps are now recovering" and wrote that the surge in traffic had exceeded what the company had "load tested."

Before prices pulled back amid the Coinbase snafu, the rally had been pushing closer to bitcoin's all-time mark of $68,789. That apex came in November 2021, six months before a spectacular crash in 2022.

"Ultimately, what we're seeing is crypto is kind of rising from the ashes of the 2022 market," said Ryan Rasmussen, a senior crypto research analyst for Bitwise Asset Management.

Bitcoin is riding a wave of excitement sparked by a series of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds that started trading in January. Those funds gave everyday investors widespread exposure to the digital asset, triggering predictions of a new bull run.

"Our assumption is that the price of bitcoin is going to achieve $125,000 by the end of 2025," Benchmark's Mark Palmer added on Yahoo Finance Live.

Investors are bidding other cryptocurrencies and related stocks higher too. Year to date, the second-largest cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), has outperformed bitcoin by more than 4% while the total market value for all crypto assets is up roughly 34% to $2.22 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

One sign of surging enthusiasm for bitcoin is the trading activity in the bitcoin ETFs that launched in January. They have logged more than $6.7 billion in net flows as of Wednesday, according to data collected by London-based fund Farside Investors.

So far this quarter, bitcoin trading volume has surpassed levels seen for the same period in every quarter of 2023.

Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, looks on during the Piper Sandler Global Exchange and FinTech Conference in New York City, U.S., June 7, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase. (Brendan McDermid/REUTERS) (REUTERS / Reuters)

That activity has been a boon to major crypto trading venues, including Coinbase and Robinhood (HOOD).

But the surge in trading also became a liability for Coinbase Wednesday as some of its users began reporting that their account balances showed $0.

Coinbase's stock dropped in intraday trading as it provided updates about its efforts to resolve the issue and it closed roughly flat for the day.

Other bitcoin-related stocks are also riding higher. Bitcoin miner Marathon Digital (MARA) and bitcoin holder MicroStrategy (MSTR) have risen 35% and 40%, respectively, since the beginning of the year. MicroStrategy announced Monday morning that it acquired an additional 3,000 BTC, bringing its total investment to 193,000 BTC, which was valued at over $11.8 billion as of Wednesday.

Derivatives traders are also now piling into the bitcoin rally, according to Cumberland Labs analyst Christopher Newhouse.

There are roughly $25 billion of open contracts in the bitcoin futures market, according to crypto derivatives data provider Coinglass. That’s a new high for outstanding bitcoin futures bets, surpassing a mark last set in April 2021.

"In the options market, the narrative is clear," Newhouse added. "People are bullish."

David Hollerith is a senior reporter for Yahoo Finance covering banking, crypto, and other areas in finance.

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