Bitcoin prices have surged more than 80% so far this year, and investors are enthusiastically scooping up other cryptocurrencies as well. Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency with a total value of about $220 billion, has more than doubled this year.
Of course, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to look at bitcoin versus big firms with sky-high valuations like Apple. But for what it’s worth, only four companies in the United States currently are worth more than bitcoin: Apple (, )Microsoft (, )Amazon ( and Google owner )Alphabet (. )
That news has sparked speculation that other big companies may soon add bitcoin or other cryptocurrncies to their balance sheets, since bitcoin is generating a significantly higher return than bonds and cash.
Corporate America is validating bitcoin. Payments giants Square ( and )PayPal (let their users buy and sell it. Credit card processing behemoths )Visa ( and )Mastercard ( are also )embracing cryprocurrencies.
And a top strategist at BlackRock (, the world’s largest asset manager, )said on CNBC this week that the company has “started to dabble” in bitcoin as an investment.
All this has helped spark a wave of buying by average investors. Consumer research firm Piplsay wrote in a report Thursday that half of the more than 30,000 consumers it surveyed this week about bitcoin said they felt it was “safe” to invest in cryptocurrencies.