Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency globally, has once again captured the interest of the financial world due to its recent resurgence, as the asset looks to break free from the bearish conditions that prevailed throughout the previous year. Bolstered by its recent upswing, Bitcoin has surpassed traditional equities in market capitalization, signifying a potential notable shift in the financial landscape.
Particularly, data obtained by Finbold on October 26 shows that Bitcoin commands a market capitalization of $677.23 billion, surpassing major selected traditional sector stocks. For instance, Bitcoin has outpaced electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), which has a market cap of $675.26 billion, and pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) at $556.72 billion.
Furthermore, Bitcoin exceeds finance giant Visa (NYSE: V), which possesses a capitalization of $489 billion, semiconductor manufacturer TSMC with a market cap of $454.53 billion, and healthcare firm Novo Nordisk with a capitalization of $439.25 billion. The cryptocurrency also controls a higher market cap than retail chain Walmart (NYSE: VMT) at $438.07 billion and banking giant JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), standing at $405.89 billion.
In addition, the valuation of Bitcoin has surged by approximately 16% from October 20 to October 26, 2023, with its price trading slightly below the $35,000 mark. On October 20, the asset was valued at $29,682; by the time of writing, on October 26, it had risen to $34,534.
Why Bitcoin is surging again
For long considered highly volatile, Bitcoin has surged mainly driven by growing interest in the possible spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) rollout. The recent excitement stems from including BlackRock’s (NYSE: BLK) Bitcoin ETF in a list managed by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp, a Nasdaq-affiliated clearinghouse for stocks and ETFs.
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, filed for a Bitcoin spot ETF approval pending regulatory greenlight. As the world’s largest ETF provider, a BlackRock Bitcoin ETF would bestow newfound legitimacy upon the cryptocurrency.
It’s worth noting that decisions regarding ETFs have experienced delays, and the DTCC listing doesn’t confirm the fund’s actual launch or guarantee it will happen. Nonetheless, this move could be seen as part of BlackRock’s preparations for a forthcoming ETF launch.
At the same time, as geopolitical tensions escalate, there has been a rising demand for scarce assets across both traditional sectors and cryptocurrencies. Notably, Bitcoin has also experienced some benefits akin to other assets like gold.
Another possible factor driving Bitcoin’s value is the push by investors seeking diversification amid current uncertainties, compounded by surging inflation and increasing interest rates; some are turning to Bitcoin as a digital haven.
Often referred to as “digital gold,” Bitcoin offers a means for investors to expand their portfolios. In this line, proponents argue that the maturing Bitcoin market and its developing narrative as an asset class could propel the asset to surpass more traditional stocks.
Overall, proponents of Bitcoin continue to push the narrative that the asset’s resurgence is likely to keep rising, mainly backed by the convergence of other inherent factors like its capped supply of 21 million coins, evoking the allure of digital gold through scarcity and its decentralization form.
Variations in Bitcoin and traditional stocks
Bitcoin and traditional company stocks are distinct asset classes with different characteristics, purposes, and risk profiles. Cryptocurrency is a decentralized digital currency, while stocks represent ownership in specific companies and are subject to regulatory oversight.
It is worth noting that Bitcoin has accumulated more capital than the highlighted companies despite its existence for over a decade. At the same time, the maiden cryptocurrency could have a higher rank without extended market volatility.
On the other hand, Tesla is still trailing Bitcoin despite the EV maker’s positive 2023 stock growth. However, in recent weeks, Tesla has experienced a sell-off, with the stock experiencing a significant outflow in market capitalization.
Tesla investors have faced a tumultuous few months, marked by missed delivery targets, capital raises that diluted value, increased competition in the electric vehicle market, and various legal challenges for CEO Elon Musk.
However, Tesla’s future success may depend on maintaining its first-mover position in the U.S. EV market, sustaining growth, and diversifying beyond its core automotive business.
The volatility question
In general, traditional stocks, much like cryptocurrencies, have experienced heightened volatility. The shifting interest rate environment has posed challenges for stocks, and stakeholders are closely watching the potential for further decreases in inflation. Significantly, a decrease in the inflation rate will likely impact stock valuations.
Meanwhile, the paramount question revolves around the coexistence of Bitcoin and conventional financial markets. Traditional markets are perennially characterized by stability, the support of well-established financial institutions, and clear regulations. In contrast, Bitcoin offers a digital, agile, decentralized alternative that resonates with a burgeoning subset of market participants.