First it went through $US20,000. Then ten days later, it broke through $US25,000, and then, with seldom taking a breath, it crossed $US30,000. At this point just a couple of days into 2021, the selling price of bitcoin has crossed $US40,000.

Nothing’s brand new with the digital currency in the month since it crossed $US20,000 – there’s been no big change in how it tends to be used. Even though some investors are now using the notoriously volatile currency as a “store of value,” which is usually a name kept for safe haven investments like gold and other precious metals.

“Will you be able to buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin? Probably not with the present variant of Bitcoin. It is mainly turn into a market of value,” said Mike Venuto, a co portfolio manager of the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF, a $US391 million ($503 million) exchanged-traded fund that focuses on blockchain technologies and firms that deal with cryptocurrencies.

Media attention to the rise of its has only extra fuel to the rally. But investors in digital currencies and companies that trade or “mine” them are actually warning folks to be sceptical of Bitcoin’s recent rise as well as to be braced for a great deal of volatility.

It has been a crazy ride for bitcoin the previous three years. The digital currency made its big Wall Street debut in December 2017, when the major futures exchanges rolled out bitcoin futures. The attention drove Bitcoin to about $US19,300, a then unheard of cost for the currency.

In that case all of it evaporated. The currency’s value plunged sharply in 2018, and by December of that season Bitcoin was really worth less than $US4,000 a coin. Up until this most recent rally which started in October, Bitcoin typically floated between $US5,000 and $US10,000.

While within the last 2 years companies have embraced the technology which underlies digital currencies as Bitcoin, a principle called the blockchain, the actual uses for Bitcoin haven’t truly changed since the rally of its 3 years ago. It is still largely used by those distrustful of the banking system, criminals seeking to launder money, and also for the majority of part, as a department store of value.

In reality, other investments typically used as safe havens during uncertain times – important precious metals – have been trading at near record highs as well.