LONDONLONDON (Reuters) - Bitcoin's price rose to more than $14,900 on Thursday, its highest level since January 2018, amid volatility caused by the U.S. election and investor hopes that more central bank stimulus to support economies hit by the COVID-19 pandemic will push up the value of digital assets.
The biggest cryptocurrency has surged more than 10% since the day of the presidential election, with Democrat Joe Biden edging closer to victory over President Donald Trump.
Bitcoin was last trading 5.4% higher at $14,930.
World tech stocks and bond markets also extended their rally on Thursday.
"Bitcoin is the big winner from the current macro environment" said Anthony Pompliano, a co-founder and partner at cryptocurrency investment firm Morgan Creek Digital Assets. "As we saw coming out of the 2008 liquidity crisis, inflation hedge assets do very well when the Fed steps in with QE."
The Bank of England added 150 billion pounds ($195.20 billion) to its asset purchase programme on Thursday, and the Federal Reserve is expected to signal later that it will do whatever it can to help the U.S. economy.
Bitcoin has been on an upswing over the past few weeks, after digital payments company PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) announced it would enable purchases with virtual coins on its platform.
The news bolstered long-standing expectations that bitcoin and its rivals could become a more viable form of payment, a goal that has been elusive.
HOPES PINNED ON FURTHER PRICE INCREASES
Bitcoin investors and enthusiasts are also pinning their hopes of further price increases on more clarity from global financial regulators on rules for cryptocurrencies and increased adoption by mainstream finance firms.
"The once dismissed asset is now acknowledged by traditional finance," said Dave Chapman, a Hong Kong-based executive director at OSL, a cryptocurrency brokerage. "It's not going away, and it has now been afforded the regulatory clarity from regulators, globally."
Blistering rallies are not uncommon in cryptocurrencies, and are generally followed by equally steep crashes, with many experts at a loss to identify a clear cause for changes of direction.
The price of bitcoin soared to more than $20,000 in December 2017 and crashed 50% the following month.
"Bitcoin doesn't go up or down for macroeconomic reasons, like QE or real investor decisions," said David Gerard, a cryptocurrency expert and author of recent book on Facebook-led virtual coin Libra.
"The market is thin and manipulated, and every price change is fully explained by internal market issues."
(Reporting by Anna Irrera, Editing by Timothy Heritage)