Bitcoin surges as much as 10%, on track for biggest daily gain of 2019

Bitcoin owners got a much-needed break on Friday when the cryptocurrency surged to its highest level in more than two weeks, putting it on track for its biggest daily gain of the year.

In midday trading, one bitcoinBTCUSD, +8.33% was fetching $3,659.11, up 8.1% since Thursday’s level at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and is on track for its biggest daily gain since Dec. 28, 2018, when the cryptocurrency rose 8.5%, according to Dow Jones Market data.

The cryptocurrency hit an intraday high at $3,704.90, which marked a 10.3% rise.

After a prolonged period of suppressed price activity that dragged the Bitcoin Volatility Index to a 12-week low, the move caught traders off guard. “Yes, not just a big move but a sudden move,” said Lennon Sweeting, director and head trader at Coinsquare Capital Markets Ltd.

But digital asset owners were quick to act. “There are quite a few customers taking advantage of this rally, we are definitely seeing a lot of profit taking,” Sweeting added.

The Toronto-based trader said some industry participants are pointing to bitcoin’s hash rate, which hit a three-month high, for the reason behind the sudden surge. The hash rate is a measure of a miners performance and a higher hash rate increases the chance a computer has of solving the complicated puzzle required to earn cryptocurrency.

Coins other than bitcoin, commonly referred to as altcoins, are outperforming bitcoin. LitecoinLTCUSD, +28.98% was leading the charge, rising 28.4% to $42.15, EtherETHUSD, +14.85% shot up 14% to $117.62 and Bitcoin CashBCHUSD, +13.45%was up 11% at $125.40.

The market value of all cryptocurrencies rose by $6 billion in less than 30 minutes, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

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