Investors say bitcoin’s movement coincided with hundreds of millions of dollars in options expiries on Friday. They also pointed to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s dovish Jackson Hole, Wyoming, speech, suggesting that bitcoin is seeing a catch-up trade as most other assets reacted at the time except for bitcoin.
On Friday, bitcoin rose as high as $51,026.24 at one point, hitting its highest level since May 14, according to Coin Metrics. It broke past $50,000 two weeks ago and has traded slightly below that line since, but analysts have said it still has room to run.
Ether rose to $4,025.75, its highest level since May 15. The price movement came amid a surge of interest in decentralized finance, or DeFi, applications and NFTs, or nonfungible tokens. Typically, the price of bitcoin has led other crypto assets whose trades tend to move with bitcoin’s, but investors say that wasn’t the case this week.
“Many institutions that have had interest in bitcoin have moved on to eth as the ‘next hot thing,’ and the second largest market cap asset,” said Jesse Proudman, co-founder and CEO of robo-advisor Makara. “Additionally, most institutional players understand that many of these NFTs are being built on Ethereum, and it is an indirect way to get exposure to the fastest-growing segment of the market.”