Bitcoin mania just blew past the $5,000 mark.
The price of the controversial crytpo-currency soared by more than $500 on Thursday to over $5,380, bringing it to a new all-time high.
The latest rally appears to have been driven by a mix of upcoming engineering changes that make it easier to acquire new coins and unconfirmed rumors that China, Amazon, and Google will be more open to the asset in the near future.
“There’s the fear of missing out,” Sam Doctor, quant strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors.
“Psychologically a lot of investors may feel like now is the time to pull the trigger,” he added. “That might be one of the factors at play.”
Bitcoin has been one of the most divisive investments on and off Wall Street.
It has soared 456 percent in 2017, making it one of the best-performing assets in the world. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index’s 14.1 percent rise this year looks downright paltry.
After first approaching the $5,000 mark on Sept. 1, the currency retreated to as low as $3,058 on Sept. 15 after China closed an exchange in the country.
The surge comes just weeks before the latest in “hard forks,” or splits, that will result in a new form of the currency called Bitcoin Gold, on Oct. 25.
Once Bitcoin Gold is established, it will be cheaper and easier for investors to “mine” new coins, a process that takes substantial computing power, Oliver Bussmann, former CIO at UBS who now runs his own bitcoin consultancy.
Before the last time the currency was forked, on Aug. 1, investors had freaked out and sent the currency down by as much as a third on a single day in June, to just above $2,000 a coin.
But there are other factors at play among traders, Bussmann said.
“There are rumors on the street for Amazon and Google are ready to accept bitcoin for their services,” he said. He added that investors are spreading rumors that China may reverse its decision from last month and issue licenses for bitcoin exchanges.
“Do I think we are just in the beginning?” Bussmann asked. “Yes. I think so.”