Bitcoin surges past $5,000 per coin

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It has happened: A single Bitcoin, the same digital cryptocoin that you could’ve bought for a couple of cents less than a decade ago, is now worth more than $5,000. 

This isn’t the first time Bitcoin crossed this milestone — at some exchanges, it was briefly over $5,000 on Sept. 2 before sharply pulling back that same day. But this time, it broke through with ease — one Bitcoin is currently trading at $5,161, having risen more than 7% in the last 24 hours alone. 

Bitcoin’s price has been on a crazy rollercoaster (isn’t it always) since reaching that high mark in early September. First, it plummeted to about $3,000 on Sept. 15, and then it started a new sharp rise. 

It’s never easy to determine the reason for Bitcoin’s price swings, but the likely culprit this time is an upcoming hard fork, scheduled for Oct. 25. Similar to the Bitcoin Cash split in August, a group of developers is creating a new version — or fork — of Bitcoin, called Bitcoin Gold, which will live on as a separate entity from Bitcoin. The two cryptocurrencies will share the same chain, meaning that everyone who owns Bitcoin at time of fork will also own the same amount of Bitcoin Gold — and the last time this has happened, it essentially resulted in free money for Bitcoin owners. 

The exact terms of this new Bitcoin split are still somewhat murky, so there could be more volatility ahead. Right now, however, it appears that Bitcoin is about to set some new records. 

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