11 January 2017
Update Jan 5th:
In just 4 hours, Bitcoin has dropped from 1,139,89$ to 885,41$ on the Europe-based Bitstamp exchange. This is due to Chinese yuan's jump of over 1 per cent in offshore trading. The cryptocurrency has lost 20% of its value between 9:25GMT and 13:25GMT today.
Original post (Jan 3rd)
It isn't smartphones and computing technologies that are making a dramatic entrance into the new year. The digital currency, bitcoin, has also made a huge leap and its value has jumped over the $1,000 mark for the first time in three years. It currently stands at $1,022 on the European-based Bitstamp exchange.
Bitcoin is a form of virtual/digital currency that relies on encryption for the generation of new currency units or for transactions. It is not governed by any regulating bank/authority, which means that anonymity is ensured and there are no extra transaction charges levied by any authority. This makes it attractive for people who want to send/receive money without being controlled.
Bitcoin value rose to a peak in later 2013 but then dropped off suddenly. Historically, it has been unstable. But for the past few months, it has been growing slowly. Only a few days ago, it hit a record value against the Pound.
The major increase in the value of Bitcoin is said to be due to the devaluation of the Chinese Yuan, since Bitcoin is extremely popular in China and most bitcoin trading happens there.
"Though bitcoin is still some way off the all-time high of $1,163 that it reached on the Bitstamp exchange in late 2013, there are now more bitcoins in circulation - 12.5 are added to the system every 10 minutes. Its total worth is at a record-high above $16 billion, putting its value at around the same as that of an average FTSE 100 company," said Jemima Kelly from Reuters.