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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Bitcoin reached $40,000 on Thursday, doubling the elusive $20,000 all-time high first set in late 2017.

Why it matters: Deep-pocketed institutional investors have driven the bull run this time, with everyone from Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital to MassMutual fueling the original cryptocurrency's recent price surge.

  • BTC doubled in less than 30 days - after taking three years to hit the prior high on Dec. 16, 2020 - even as political chaos climaxed in Washington, D.C., this week.

Yes, but: The run-up has people wondering if a crash is imminent. Commodity trader Peter Brandt tweeted Thursday that bitcoin's price action has started going parabolic.

  • Even if technical indicators show the market is “overbought,” historically bitcoin can continue in this phase longer than most traders expect, making it anyone’s guess when the top will come.

What to watch: Of course, we live in unprecedented times of political uncertainty in the U.S. Bitcoin is viewed by some as chaos insurance. If there were a clock that counted down the time remaining for the dollar to serve as the world’s reserve currency, Wednesday on Capitol Hill may have taken several minutes off it.

If you're interested in more news about cryptocurrencies, click here to get notified when Axios expands its coverage.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 12, 2021 - Economy & Business

The big hedge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Warnings that the U.S. equity market looks to be in a bubble are coming from a slew of Wall Street asset managers and strategists as stocks continue to reach new record highs and markets display abnormal behavior. But data show that while investors are hedging their bets, there is hardly a mad dash to sell out of equity positions.

What's happening: As the 10-year Treasury yield rises solidly above 1% — its highest level in nearly a year — a growing contingent of investors fear that a crash is imminent without the ballast of rock-bottom interest rates.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.