The world’s first and largest cryptocurrency was one of the biggest winners this month.
Bitcoin rallied more than 68% in May, hitting a high of $9,084 on Thursday. That’s up from about $5,200 one month ago, and more than double its value to start the year. The S&P 500 is down about 5% in the same time period.
Bart Smith, head of digital assets at Susquehanna, said the crypto rally was driven by a few different factors — including simmering trade tensions.
“The first is the net effect of the trade war with china and the U.S. is that the yuan is hitting a six-month low,” Smith told CNBC’s Squawk Box Thursday, adding that much of the interest came from China. “Bitcoin was either a hedge or just an outright way to get capital outside of that country.”
Global equity markets stumbled this month as the world’s two largest economies remain locked in a stalemate over trade. Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at Los Angeles-based digital asset manager Arca said that was top of mind for investors, especially as the Chinese yuan fell against the U.S. dollar.
“Chinese investors and the overall population know this, and are worried about protecting their capital and their purchasing power,” Dorman said. “This leads to capital outflows, and Bitcoin and other digital assets are a ‘safe haven’ for them.”