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Bitcoin crosses $4,000 for the first time in two weeks

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Bitcoin has surpassed $4,000 for the first time in two weeks, continuing to break away from a months-long rout.

The price of the world’s best-known cryptocurrency climbed almost 7 percent to $4,037 on Thursday, according to CoinDesk’s index tracker.

The last time the digital currency was trading at the $4,000 level was on Dec. 4. It began to plummet in mid-November after months of stability, restoring volatility in an asset known to jump or fall hundreds of dollars within hours.

It has fallen almost 80 percent since a record high near $20,000 in December last year. Earlier this week, bitcoin began to jolt upward on the anniversary of the cryptocurrency’s all-time high.

Other major digital assets also traded higher on Thursday. XRP, a virtual token closely associated with blockchain firm Ripple, jumped more than 2 percent to almost 38 cents, while ether, the digital token of the Ethereum blockchain, rose over 5 percent to $109. The two cryptocurrencies are the second and third-most valuable, according to CoinMarketCap.

“The surge on Monday represents a strong push off the key support level of $3,000 per coin,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at social trading platform eToro, told CNBC.

“This is an extremely significant movement that may end up creating a floor for the battered down cryptocurrency.”

Greenspan said the sudden rally was likely the result of traders closing their short positions ahead of the holidays.

Charles Hayter, chief executive of cryptocurrency comparison platform CryptoCompare, said the recent sell-off in cryptocurrencies was likely seen as a “buying opportunity.”

“The maxim of buy when there’s blood on the streets could be influencing some to gain exposure at this nadir prior to the new year”.

Last year proved to be a momentous one for bitcoin, with trading giants like CME and Cboe introducing futures contracts for the virtual currency. According to a Wall Street Journal report out Thursday, New York Stock Exchange parent Intercontinental Exchange may soon get regulatory approval to launch the first futures contract redeemable in bitcoin.

2017 was also a big year for the cryptocurrency space as a whole, as a controversial fundraising method known as an initial coin offering (ICO) gained traction.

ICOs were banned in China and South Korea last year, however, while regulators have upped their scrutiny on the cryptocurrency industry as a whole over concerns of speculative trading and potential criminal activity.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, meanwhile, has clamped down on numerous crypto projects, including one backed by professional boxer Floyd Mayweather.

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