Bitcoin has shattered the virtual currency’s price glass ceiling to float above US$1,000 for a record seven days and to hit a new peak value.
A single Bitcoin is now worth $1,121 – the highest value ever – and has reached as high as $1,115.
And the price has steadily been on an upward trajectory since hitting a low of $224 in August 2016.
This month has seen the longest time the value has stayed above $1,000 – a record run of seven days so far.
Bitcoin last reached $1,000 for a day or two in November and December 2013.
The previous longest run above $1,000 was six days earlier in February this year.
Rise of Japan
The reason for a bullish Bitcoin market comes from new support for the virtual currency from Japan as traders and exchanges in the country stepped up to fill the gap created when China’s central bank reportedly ordered Bitcoin China to support the yuan.
Neither BTC China or the bank have revealed the measures the exchange was ordered to take.
Bitcoin is emerging as a major force in Japan as merchants accept the currency as payment and Bitcoin is widely accepted by the public as a means of payment.
Bitcoin is called a virtual currency, but has no standing with any central bank.
Many users fear the value is too volatile as speculators can manipulate unofficial exchange rates with officially recognised currencies.
Bitcoin exchanges and traders in Japan and China have also come under criticism for lax security that has led to theft or fraud involving electronic wallets storing the currency.
However, the major technological advance that has come out of Bitcoin is secure software called the ‘blockchain’.
This open source software manages the issue and ownership of each Bitcoin in a database that has so far defied hackers.
Banks and other financial institutions around the world are developing software applications based on the blockchain to track money transfers, sales and other transaction data.
Bitcoin came to prominence as the payment model of choice for criminals dealing in weapons and drugs as their transactions were outside the jurisdiction of any law enforcement agency.