Bitcoin has hit a new record high of $8,235 in trading on November 21, according to tracker Coindesk.
The cryptocurrency has inexorably soared from a price of $748 on January 1 despite some major collapses in value during the year.
Bitcoin started November at $6,750 – another record high – and plunged to $5,857 within two weeks, only to claw back the losses and rally to the latest record price.
One of the drivers behind the surging value of Bitcoin is a string of announcements from financial firms stating that they are looking at adapting the blockchain technology that underpins the virtual currency for their own use.
Others may allow Bitcoin trading through their apps.
PayPal to take up Bitcoin?
The markets are awash with speculation that online payment provider PayPal may move into the Bitcoin sector.
The price of Bitcoin is up more than 700% this year with a month of trading still ahead.
The market cap is $1.38 trillion.
Rival cryptocurrency Ethereum is trading at $368 – a little lower than the record high of $388 reached on September 2.
Ethereum started the year at $9.
The market cap is $35 billion.
Dogged by misfortune
Meanwhile, the company behind another virtual currency – Tether – has reported a $31 million theft. Fraud and thefts have regularly dogged cryptocurrency exchanges. The threat comes from hackers and staff tempted by the vast sums of money held in electronic wallets.
Tether is generally viewed as a top 20 cryptocurrency, but considered as a small player in the market. The market cap is $673 million.
Confido, a cryptocurrency payment system start-up, has also seen the project founders disappear with $375,000 raised from an ICO (initial coin offering).
Regulators in China, the USA and Britain have recently warned investors that many ICOs are high-risk and havens for fraudsters.
A survey of 97 chief financial officers have branded Bitcoin as a ‘bubble’ and a ‘fraud’. They told the broadcaster CNBC that Bitcoin is a real asset (28%) and likely to climb higher in value (14%), while another 28% felt the cryptocurrency was a fraud.
Summing up their opinions, one CFO said: “The jury is still out, it’s not a currency we are using for a multibillion dollar business. It’s something we are curious about, we are open to, but we haven’t found a way to really integrate it into our business.”