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Expand chart
Data: Coin Metrics; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Bitcoin's market cap — the amount of bitcoin in the world multiplied by its current price — is at an all-time high.

Driving the news: A recent embrace by PayPal and other mainstream figureheads along with expansionist Fed policy and a weaker dollar have sent individual bitcoin prices yesterday to a 2020 high of $18,350.

By the numbers: Despite being more than a grand shy of its all-time high of $19,666 on Dec. 17, 2017, bitcoin’s recent market cap is a record $328 billion, about $10 billion less than Mastercard.

  • Bitcoin is up 145% on the year, far outperforming most stocks.

Sleeper theory: Also lurking behind Bitcoin’s recent price surge is a supply crunch from bitcoin miners in China.

  • Chinese miners, who control over 70% of bitcoin’s hashrate or mining power, have been facing challenges liquidating their crypto holdings for cash because many are finding their bank accounts and cards frozen as a part of the Chinese government’s nationwide crackdown on telecommunications fraud and money laundering via cryptocurrency deals.
  • Thomas Heller, formerly global business director at the mining pool F2Pool and now chief operation officer of mining and media firm HASHR8, confirmed the Chinese miners’ predicament earlier this week, saying it’s currently a “challenge” for Chinese miners to convert bitcoin and tether into cash. 

Editor's note: The final two bullets of this story have been updated with new information.

Go deeper

U.S. indexes see worst day since October amid short squeeze chaos

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Equity prices tumbled Wednesday, with U.S. indexes booking their worst day since October, but traditional hedging assets like Treasury bonds, the Japanese yen and gold saw minimal gains or losses, continuing a trend that has been in place for more than a year.

By the numbers: The S&P, Dow and Nasdaq all fell by more than 2%, but the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield declined by just 1 basis point from its closing level on Tuesday.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters, WHO says — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker