As Bitcoin Scrapes $10,000, an Investment Boom Like No Other

Bitcoin is on an extraordinary run, with the price of a single Bitcoin crossing $10,000 on some exchanges for the first time on Monday — less than two months after it crossed $5,000 for the first time.

It is a bull market with few precedents in recent investing history. The Dow Jones industrial average, in its biggest year, 1915, went up 82 percent, or one-tenth as much as Bitcoin has gone up this year. Amazon’s red-hot stock is up only one-fifteenth as much as Bitcoin this year.

The price has been pushed up by a flood of new buyers from around the world who think they have spotted a new kind of investment that could ultimately compete with gold as a place to store money outside the control of companies and governments.

These mainstream investors have not just been the libertarian-minded programmers who helped Bitcoin survive its rocky first seven years, after the mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto released it in 2009.

In recent months, trading among ordinary investors has taken off in South Korea and Japan. Seoul now has multiple storefronts where less technically adept people can buy and sell Bitcoin. It was on Korean exchanges where the price of Bitcoin first hit $10,000 on Monday.

On American exchanges, the price was hovering around $9,700 on Monday.

The skyrocketing price has brought forth no shortage of skeptics, from Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, to Warren E. Buffett, who have variously called it a fraud, a bubble and a Ponzi scheme.

Read more