Photo: Xinhua

Bitcoin shot past its all-time high on December 16, smashed through key resistance at $20,000 and soared into uncharted price territory. At the time of publication (7 am Thursday in Hong Kong), the price was $21,338, up 9.69% in 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

The leading crypto’s historic surge comes just over two weeks after breaking its previous all-time high.

Unlike it’s primarily retail-driven bull run to nearly $20,000 at the end of 2017, this rally is being fueled by rapidly increasing institutional demand (including fiscally conservative insurance companies), the growing acceptance that the crypto is a gold-like store of value, and strengthening network fundamentals. The 2017 rally came to an abrupt end when whales triggered a massive sell-off, which eventually pushed it below $4,000.

One of the biggest new drivers is the growing corporate perception that bitcoin offers a safe harbor in the face of currency debasement caused by excessive money printing in reaction to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, has led the corporate charge into bitcoin, shifting the bulk of his business intelligence firm’s treasury into the crypto. 

Saylor said, “Bitcoin is the world’s best treasury reserve asset and the emerging dominant monetary network. It is the solution to the store of value problem faced by every individual, corporation, and government on earth. As this news gets out, the world is going to change for the better.”

Where will bitcoin go from here? The sky’s the limit according to crypto trader The Wolf of all streets, who tweeted: “There is no resistance on the #bitcoin chart.”

Bitcoin price projections for the end of 2021 vary widely, but even conservative analysts are extremely bullish. Citibank’s research team, for example, believes it could hit $318,000.

Even more bullish is Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Investments, who believes it could ascend to an astronomical 400,000, thanks to its built-in scarcity and “rampant money printing” by the US Federal Reserve.

He told Bloomberg Television on Wednesday: “Our fundamental work shows that bitcoin should be worth about $400,000. It’s based on the scarcity and relative valuation such as things like gold as a percentage of GDP. So you know, bitcoin actually has a lot of the attributes of gold and at the same time has an unusual value in terms of transactions.”

Read: Bitcoin could hit $318K in 2021, says Citibank