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Bitcoin Soars Close to Record High

Jeff John Roberts

What wipeout? Buyers blew off fresh warnings about a bitcoin bubble and sent prices above $4,800 on Monday, capping a bullish October run for the digital currency.

Prices reached as high as $4,820, which is near the record territory of late August when bitcoin brushed close to $5,000. The currency crashed dramatically in September following a crackdown on digital currency by China.

Here’s a closer look, courtesy of trade publication Coindesk, at how bitcoin rallied over the last week:

Here’s a longer a view that shows bitcoin’s extraordinary run-up this summer, its crash to near $3,000, and its subsequent recovery:

There is no obvious single explanation for the latest price surge. Possible factors include last week’s rumors that Goldman Sachs plans to trade bitcoin as well as growing confidence that a possible “fork” of the currency in November, which would create a new version of bitcoin, won’t prove disruptive. As one wag on Twitter put it:

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Meanwhile, a source familiar with bitcoin price movements, told Fortune that China’s recent crackdown is not as severe as it first appeared. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity BECAUSE WHY???, said the crackdown may have been driven in part by Chinese government insiders who sought to profit from the resulting price swings.

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In any case, not everyone is optimistic about bitcoin’s future. A Harvard economist predicted on Monday that the price of bitcoin will “collapse,” while analysts at TD Ameritrade warned of “collateral damage” to certain stocks if bitcoin prices plunge.

Bitcoin, of course, has experienced no shortage of naysayers in the past. For a longer term view, check out The Ledger’s recent retrospective, “5 Bitcoin Crashes: What We Learned.”

This is part of Fortune's new initiative, The Ledger, a trusted news source at the intersection of tech and finance. For more on The Ledger, click here.

See original article on Fortune.com

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