FORTUNE: Bitcoin Getting Crazy Close To Breaking $5,000 Mark
Will it ever stop?
Cryptocurrency bitcoin reached yet another all-time high on Friday of $4,890, capping a surge in value of about 80% over the course of a month.
Bitcoin’s rise comes despite concerns that the cryptocurrency could split into two come November, forming a so-called “hard fork.” In November, an upgrade to bitcoin’s underlying software is expected to speed up transactions by increasing how many it can process at once. The bitcoin network is expected to do so by accepting an increased block size of two megabytes. But some miners aren’t on board with the update, and if they decide against making the change in November, bitcoin could effectively form two separate currencies.
It’s not entirely clear why bitcoin has continued its climb, though hype around the cryptocurrency’s seemingly inexorable rise may play a role in how miners think of the coin. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency has also become something of a “safe haven” asset — an asset that’s expected to stay relatively stable in times of uncertainty — as tensions between North Korea and the West escalate. TenX co-founder Julian Hosp said in a recent interview that many of the company’s bitcoin users are based in areas with potentially unstable governments in Africa and South America.
Some bitcoin advocates also expect bitcoin to continue its upward trajectory because it is a scarce resource. Only about 21 million bitcoins can be mined. So far, about 16 million have already been accounted for. In a recent Twitter post, noted bitcoin bull Charlie Shrem said the top of the market is still far off.