The aggregated market value of cryptocurrencies hit a record high of over $200 billion. This puts their reported market value at more than that on banking company Citigroup.
This came on the back of Bitcoin hit a record high of $7,500 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, after a more than tenfold increase in value over the past 12 months, according to a report in Reuters.
Bitcoin has more than doubled in value in the past seven weeks. It is on track for a fifth consecutive quarter of increases, something that last happened in 2012-13, when it first approached $100. Bitcoin is the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin hitting a record high took its market cap to a record high of over $120 billion. In this case, the market capitalization is calculated by multiplying its price by the number of coins that have been released into circulation.
Following Bitcoin is the second biggest cryptocurrency ‘Ether’, which has a market cap of just below $30 billion. The rest of the $200 billion has been made up by the other 1000-odd rival digital currencies available.
Reuters reports that if the cryptocurrency market were a company, its valuation would put it in the top 25 firms on the S&P 500 .SPX stock index.
The surge in bitcoin and digital currencies comes after CME Group, the world’s largest derivative exchange operator, announced that it would launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of this year. There has also been speculation that Amazon could soon start accepting digital currency, further adding to the surge in bitcoins.
However, despite the surge, market experts such as Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam have express caution that the market represents a bubble and the current interest could eventually die down.
“From what we can identify, the only reason today to buy or sell bitcoin is to make money, which is the very definition of speculation and the very definition of a bubble,” Reuters quotes him as saying.