Cryptocurrency markets were gripped by a fresh wave of bullishness Friday, as bitcoin rose for a fourth straight day to a 3.5-month high over $50,000 and Ethereum’s ether (ETH) pushed toward the key psychological level of $4,000.
Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, appeared to get fresh impetus from a report Friday showing lackluster U.S. jobs growth during August. The report fueled speculation that recent soft economic data might prompt the Federal Reserve to maintain its $120 billion-a-month of asset purchases longer than previously expected.
Some investors speculate that the U.S. central bank’s accommodative monetary policies will suppress returns on traditional market assets like bonds, strengthening the appeal of bitcoin and other fast-rising cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin climbed as high as $50,940 on Friday and was changing hands around $50,700 as of press time. That’s the highest price since May, though still well off the all-time high near $65,000 reached earlier in the year.
Ether (ETH), the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, rose 4.4% on Friday, pushing toward $4,000 for the first time since May. As of press time the price was $3,944.
The resurgence in non-fungible token (NFT) activity and interest in yield generating decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens have also contributed to ETH’s price rally.
Ether has vastly outperformed bitcoin this year, rising five-fold in price and pushing its market capitalization to about $460 billion. That’s nearing the halfway mark versus bitcoin’s $956 billion.