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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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

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.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Group of 20 bipartisan senators back $1.2T infrastructure framework

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) arrives for a meeting with Senate Budget Committee Democrats in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol building on June 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Majority Leader and Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee are meeting to discuss how to move forward with the Biden Administrations budget proposal. Photo: Samuel Corum / Getty Images

A group of 10 Democratic and 10 Republican senators (the "G20") tasked with negotiating an infrastructure deal with the White House has released a statement in support of a $1.2 trillion framework.

Why it matters: Details regarding the plan have not yet been released, but getting 10 Republicans on board means the bill could get the necessary 60 votes to pass.

DOJ drops criminal probe, civil lawsuit against John Bolton over Trump book

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Justice Department has closed its criminal investigation into whether President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton disclosed classified information with his tell-all memoir, “The Room Where it Happened," according to a source with direct knowledge.

Why it matters: The move comes a year after the Trump administration tried to silence Bolton by suing him in federal court, claiming he breached his contract by failing to complete a pre-publication review for classified information. Prosecutors indicated they had reached a settlement with Bolton to drop the lawsuit in a filing on Wednesday.