The cryptocurrency is now close to its all-time high of just under $20,000, which it touched at the peak of its retail investor-fueled 2017 bubble.

Representations of virtual currency Bitcoin are seen in this picture illustration.
Representations of virtual currency Bitcoin are seen in this picture illustration. (Reuters)

Bitcoin broke through $18,000 to hit a new year-to-date peak as its blistering 2020 rally, driven by demand for its perceived quality as an inflation hedge and expectations of mainstream acceptance, powered on.

The original and biggest cryptocurrency was last up 3 percent at $18,175, its highest since December 2017. 

It has gained over 160 percent this year, and has jumped 17 percent in the last three days alone.

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Close to all-time high

Bitcoin is now close to its all-time high of just under $20,000, which it touched at the peak of its retail investor-fueled 2017 bubble.

The emerging asset's 12-year history has been peppered with vertiginous price rises and equally sharp crashes.

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Source: Reuters