Bitcoin, the digital currency that is worth nothing in the real world is trading at a record high online.
Unlike the Pound, US dollars or the euro, Bitcoin is not tied to any country and is not available as notes or coins.
Owners stash their Bitcoin fortunes in online wallets and can trade them for other currencies.
Since November 2011, when Bitcoins were worth just £1.33, they have soared in value and change hands at £21.94.
More trust in online security and a wide range of web site outlets, especially casinos and bookmakers, are credited with pushing up the value.
News of the all-time trading high coincides with an announcement that Bitcoin’s biggest exchange, the Japan-based MT Gox, is moving to the US in a tie-up with CoinLab.
CoinLab will run the exchange with Silicon Valley Bank.
Peter Vessenes, CoinLab ‘s chief executive, said: “Customers have faced two major difficulties with Bitcoin exchange: banking troubles for the underlying exchange and security of their Bitcoins.
“When our team discussed how to tackle these issues in the US, MT Gox clearly had by far the best security record in the Bitcoin exchange landscape.”
Mr Vessenes explained he was impressed with the security and anti- fraud prevention measures introduced by Bitcoin which, he said, were years in advance of other exchanges.
Bitcoins are earned when a computer user solves a maths problem or completes an exercise in a process called ‘mining’.
The currency is also gaining popularity as Bitcoins are difficult to trace – giving a high level of privacy to their users and has led to several major websites adopting Bitcoins for accepting donations, such as Wikileaks.
Savers can exchange Bitcoins for ‘real’ money and these transaction values are those tracked by services like MT Gox.
However, some investors are concerned about the currency’s stability after a number of high-profile thefts.
They point to an incident last September when a 24,000 Bitcoins, worth £157,800 at the time, were stolen from Bitfloor, another trading exchange.
The currency also had another setback in June 2011 when the value fell to almost zero after a massive fraud lead to a market crash.
Since then, the currency has steadied as several major websites reputedly generating more than £300,000 profit every six months have joined the currency.
Find out more about earning and spending Bitcoins at the organisation’s web site bitcoin.org including how to spend the digital currency.
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