Bitcoin has been completely unstoppable this year reaching nearly $7,500 this morning before retracting to $7,200 at the time of writing this article. The flagship cryptocurrency has made phenomenal gains over the past week, and year, and appears to be headed to that $10,000 mark. With a yearly gain of over 500% to date, everyone can easily say this was definitely Bitcoin’s year.

Some speculators believe the reason for Bitcoin's huge gains of late, have a direct correlation with the prospect of being added to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier this week the CME announced that it would try and launch Bitcoin futures and give Bitcoin a spot on the world’s largest futures exchange. If regulators permit Bitcoin to be traded on the CME, it would allow institutional investors a way to enter the cryptocurrency market. The media exposure and speculation alone may be enough for the time being, to propel Bitcoin to record highs, but these gains may seem tiny if the CME realizes its goal.

There have also been a huge number of mainstream investors fueling the market lately. Investors that last year were skeptical of Bitcoin, now find themselves investing. Bitcoin has proven to be a good storage of wealth for 2017 and people feel like 2018 will continue to see value in Bitcoin. Also fuelling the demand are many countries like Zimbabwe, Japan, India, Venezuela, and many more, who’s citizens are using Bitcoin for cross-border remittances, escaping capital controls, hyper-inflation, and demonetization. It may seem unbelievable but Bitcoin is actually feeding families in Venezuela during their economic crisis and helping families in China move their wealth as they please. Bitcoin is starting to become mainstream and everyone is starting to take notice. The once illicit cryptocurrency is becoming a household name. Long gone are the days that Bitcoin was thought of as a currency solely used for illegal drug purchases, money laundering and crime. The discussions around Bitcoin these days, is much more positive and have big name banks and investors seeing its potential.

One other reason that might be influencing the markets, is Bitcoin’s resilience. The takedown of two of the largest dark net markets Alphabay and Hansa had zero effect on Bitcoin price. The negative EFT decision, Bitfinex hack, BTC-e seizure and skepticism about Bitcoin being in a dangerous bubble, have done nothing to stop people's appetite for Bitcoin. As long as Bitcoin is able to maintain this untarnishable image, the demand will continue to grow for the crypto king.