Bitcoin price soars to record high

Japan Emerges as the World's Foremost Hotbed of Bitcoin Trading

It's the first time the cryptocurrency has confidently shot past $5,000.

Bitcoin's community of users control and regulate the currency, and the anonymity of transactions that endears it to libertarians has raised concerns that it can be abused by criminals.

The cryptocurrency BTCUSD, +8.33% on Thursday recently was up by 8% at $5,207 after earlier touching an intraday high around $5,231, according to CoinDesk data.

After the beginning of 2017, Bitcoin has had a daily trade volume of more than $100 million.

Typically for bitcoin, which at less than nine years old is still highly volatile and illiquid compared with traditional currencies and assets, the precise reason for its recent tear was unclear. Its market capitalization is 53 percent of the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies.

The last time bitcoin hit that mark, traders initiated a minor sell-off that evolved into a major downturn when China began prohibiting initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading just days later.

What bitcoin bubble? On Thursday, the popular crypto-currency defied skeptics' predictions and soared to a new all-time, past the $5,000 mark in the early morning and then climbing almost another $400 higher through the day.

But after dipping below US$3000 in mid-September, bitcoin has leapt in value by more than 75 per cent in four weeks.

"It is folly to think that bitcoin will ever be allowed to supplant central-bank-issued money", he wrote in The Guardian.

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