Bitcoin (BTC) Touches $5,000 as Crypto Market Adds $16 Billion in Minutes

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After struggling to maintain its position above $4,000 for the past few weeks, Bitcoin (BTC) has shot up by over 20 percent in a matter of minutes, finding resistance at $5,000. It is unclear the reason behind the sudden injection of volume, which remains relatively high while BTC retraces to the $4,600 level.

Yesterday, the Japanese over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk Coincheck went live. The new development opened up Bitcoin trading to a huge body of large scale institutional investors – a factor which may have influenced this rally. Unlike most cryptocurrency exchanges that operate 24/7, the desk is only open during more traditional business hours of 10:00 to 15:00, Monday to Friday.

Coincheck hopes the service will help repair its image which took a severe blow last year when the exchange suffered the largest theft in cryptocurrency history. $532 million worth of digital assets were stolen from the exchange during a hack aimed at one of its NEM hot wallets. Following the hack, Coincheck was bought out by Japanese broker-dealer the Monex Group and went through some managerial changes.

Other than Bitcoin, all the top ten cryptocurrencies have also benefited from the sudden rally. Ethereum (ETH) is up 4.3 percent and closing in on $150 in price, XRP is up 4 percent at $0.32 and Litecoin (LTC) is up an impressive 10.5 percent at $66.74. Overall, the rally added around $16 billion to the cryptocurrency market, pushing the total market cap close to $160 billion for the first time in over four months. Significant rallies such as these are usually followed by an even bigger correction, but if Bitcoin can continue to hold support above $4,700 we might see more big gains ahead.

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Bitcoin has also increased its market dominance which was threatening to drop below 50 percent yesterday. It is now back above 52 percent, the highest its been in weeks. 

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