Bitcoin (BTC) hit $42,000 on May 20 as altcoins joined the largest cryptocurrency in its record-breaking comeback.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

BTC price hits February highs

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows BTC/USD spiking to previous all-time highs from February on Thursday.

At the time of writing, volatility was back as bulls sought to tackle what was once formidable resistance. 

As Cointelegraph reported, the past 24 hours have been a test like no other for Bitcoin as selling pressure drove it to $30,000, only to evaporate and allow a run to $40,000 — all within around five hours.

On Thursday, higher levels remained, with brief spikes hinting at major buy-ins frontrunning a concerted push higher.

Versus the local lows, BTC/USD gained an unparalleled 40% in less than 24 hours. 

"The most spectacular rallies happen when emotions within the market at their most extreme," popular Twitter trader Rekt Capital said as part of multiple posts as the market rose.

Rekt Capital noted that the Crypto Fear & Greed Index, a key indicator of sentiment, was practically repeating behavior from March 2020 when cryptocurrencies broadly crashed. 

As such, others were beginning to reveal long positions on the day in a further signal of the belief that the worst of the dip was over.

ADA leads major altcoin rally

With altcoins, opportune moments for gains were also flowing in, with Cardano's ADA up over 70% and Dogecoin (DOGE) up 55%.

The latter was flying high once again thanks to Twitter activity from Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who on Thursday hinted at a plan to drive DOGE/USD to $1.

The top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization saw 40% daily returns or more as Bitcoin led battered tokens back to where they were just days before.

Ether (ETH) was up 40% at the time of writing, having previously briefly dipped below $2,000.

Cryptocurrency total market cap 1-hour candle chart. Source: TradingView