For stock markets across developed economies globally, 2020 has been a pretty good year so far.

The US S&P500 has gained around 10 per cent while the ASX has briefly eclipsed new all-time highs to rise by around 5 per cent in that time.

But a quick look across different asset classes shows another trend has become clear; crypto markets are back (at least for now).

Over the same year-to-date timeframe, Bitcoin has climbed by almost 40 per cent from its December 31 price of around $US7,250 ($10,820).

And over the weekend, it climbed back above the $US10,000 mark for the first time since September.

That 2020 increase has been accompanied by an even bigger shift in some of the major alt-coins, then by Ethereum which has almost doubled in value to $US230.

Since the peak of the crypto bull market in December 2017, investors in the space know that volatility is par for the course.

Bitcoin prices tripled between April and July last year, topping out above $US12,000 before promptly losing almost 50 per cent.

But accompanying the latest gains have been a number of developments which could be viewed as representative of a broader shift in sentiment.

Last week, California-based Lightning Labs completed a $US10m Series A round to build out its Lightning Network — a multi-year project focused on adding layers to BTC’s blockchain infrastructure that help facilitate payments.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is already an investor, and the latest funding round was joined by ex-senior staff members of traditional finance companies including Goldman Sachs and KKR.

Activity also continues to tick away on Bitcoin futures exchanges — a tentative example of increased integration between crypto assets and regulated financial markets.

Futures volume on the Chicago-based CME — the largest market for crypto-based derivatives — more than doubled in January while the value of futures contracts (as opposed to spot prices) briefly eclipsed the $US10,000 mark last week.

In addition, the number of open futures contracts is now at the highest level since BTC prices last held above $US10,000 in September.

While vehicles that vacillate the flow of institutional capital into crypto have long been touted as potentially beneficial for asset prices, US regulators have so far rejected all attempts to establish a Bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF) on the grounds that spot prices are still too prone to manipulation.

The majority of spot-crypto trading worldwide takes place on exchanges that are based outside of developed-market regulatory jurisdictions.