The price of bitcoin has moved up sharply over the last 24 hours, mirroring a trend in recent years to rise in value ahead of major holidays.
The market surge took the cryptocurrency above $7,500 (£5,700) for the first time since the start of December, adding $7 billion to its overall market cap.
It remains a long way off the highs of around $13,000 over the summer – and the all-time record of close to $20,000 in 2017 – but is a significant improvement from the start of the year, when bitcoin was trading below $4,000.
The seasonal boost was predicted earlier this month, after research from digital currency exchange SFOX revealed that bitcoin has experienced positive market movements in the build-up to US holidays.
Similar price increases occurred in the run up to the Fourth of July holiday earlier this year, as well as Labour Day in September and Thanksgiving in November.
The research builds on previous studies that uncovered a correlation between bitcoin’s price and Google searches relating to cryptocurrency.
We posited that holidays could theoretically contribute to upswings in bitcoin’s price because of families getting together, experiencing FOMO [fear of missing out], and subsequently researching and purchasing bitcoin,” stated an SFOX blog post detailing the research.
“However, the most recent data we’ve analysed here show Google searches for ‘bitcoin’ peaking before holidays, not after. Regardless of which forces are really driving bitcoin’s holiday behaviour, it seems as though bitcoin remains sensitive to major US holidays for the time being.”
Other cryptocurrencies also experienced positive price movements over the weekend, including ether (ethereum), XRP (ripple) and bitcoin cash. These altcoins are even more prone to huge price swings than the notoriously volatile bitcoin.
“Historically this has been a time when traders do look at altcoins and therefore volatility may increase,” Marcus Swanepoel, chief executive of London-based cryptocurrency firm Luno, told The Independent.
Analysis of the latest price increase led some cryptocurrency analysts to predict further gains over the coming days.
One claimed current market movements suggest bitcoin could reach $8,000 by early next week, though last week similar forecasts predicted bitcoin would see new losses heading into 2020.