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Bitcoin (BTC), the leading cryptocurrency by market cap, hit its previous all-time high in market value in 202, reaching just over $ 69,000 on Nov. 10, up 71.8 percent year over year. If we count from the local minimum at just under $ 30,000 on July 21, then Bitcoin has risen in price by 56.6 percent. If Bitcoin remains at this level for the rest of the year, 2021 will be the fourth-worst year for Bitcoin since 2011.
Ethereum (ETH) up 456 percent
Although the year has been somewhat mediocre for Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, soared 456 percent in 2021. Ethereum has shown steady growth throughout the year, reaching its first peak at $ 4182 on May 12 and a second all-time peak at $ 4878 on November 10. Thus, 2021 was the second best year in Ethereum’s five-year history.
In 2021, both leading cryptocurrencies outpaced the stock market and gold. Over the same period, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices had positive annualized returns of 26.54% and 25.82%, respectively.
As Bitcoin proponents often characterize the currency as digital gold, the asset has vastly outperformed the physical yellow metal market in 2021, which had a negative return of 5.26 percent at the time of writing.
Digital and physical gold
Gold market performance has been slowly declining since mid-2020, from just over $ 2,070 an ounce in mid-July 2020 to $ 1,812 an ounce, down 12.5 percent from its peak. Going back to the past, gold has performed well over the past five years, climbing 59.7 percent. Over a ten-year period, the market value of gold has increased by 12.5 percent.
For comparison, on December 23, 2016, Bitcoin was worth $ 891. At the moment, its market price is $ 50,852 – an increase of 57 times.
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