Bitcoin just hit $17,000 for the first time in almost 3 years

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Bitcoin is on a tear this year.

The cryptocurrency just hit $17,000 — a level it hasn’t breached in nearly three years — continuing a wild run that’s reminiscent of its monster rally in 2017.

The price of bitcoin was up over 4% in the last 24 hours, trading at $17,030 and hitting its highest point since Jan. 7, 2018, according to data from industry website CoinDesk.

Industry insiders say that bitcoin’s climb this year — which has seen it rise 137% year-to-date — is down to a number of factors, including a wave of Covid-related government stimulus and interest from big-name investors like Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller.

“The gap between the crypto world and traditional financial institutions has closed dramatically,” Charles Hayter, CEO of crypto market data provider CryptoCompare, told CNBC.

“The result is that incumbent players are now fine to play in the digital asset markets. The narrative that is compelling them to do so is this alignment of Covid, monetary policy and political disarray globally.”

Crypto fans have described bitcoin as having similar qualities to safe-haven assets such as gold, which investors often flock to in times of economic turbulence. They claim fiscal and monetary stimulus measures taken in response to the pandemic lessen the appeal of sovereign currencies like the U.S. dollar.

Bitcoin’s meteoric rise also comes as various major companies are making moves in the cryptocurrency space. Fidelity Investments, for instance, set up a dedicated digital assets unit to make it easier for its clients to trade crypto, while PayPal recently started letting its users buy, hold and sell virtual currencies.

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