Virtual Insanity – Bitcoin Values Surge

Posted by Tom Magor in Personal Finance on 11 January 2017 - Tom is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile.

While many currencies have struggled in the wake of considerable economic uncertainty, Bitcoin continues to go from strength to strength. The value of the virtual currency has hit a 3 year high with each new coin now worth about $900 (£730). Simultaneously, the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation has now surpassed $14bn.

To illustrate the rapid rate of growth, at the start of 2016 each single coin was valued at approximately $435 but their price has displayed a consistent rise over the course of the year. This is despite regular hack attacks targeting virtual currency exchanges, which have resulted in bitcoins being stolen. Without such attacks, their value is likely to have increased even further.

Many analysts have suggested that a key contributor to the rise in value of the Bitcoin is the continued depreciation of the Chinese Yuan, with the Chinese currency dropping in value by 7% over the course of 2016.

As it stands, the vast majority of Bitcoin trading occurs in China as it allows residents to bypass restrictive legislation which places a limit on the amount of money Chinese people can trade. According to Charles Hayter of the Cryptocompare website, the service that monitors trends in virtual currencies, global political uncertainty and Indian moves to control paper currency are also acting to drive the value of Bitcoins higher. As a result, many people are starting to view Bitcoins as a relatively safe alternative investment.

A significant blow came in August 2016 when Bitfinex, a Hong Kong based digital currency exchange, were hit with a major attack which resulted in the theft of Bitcoins valued at a total of $65m, leading to a 10% reduction in their value.

Despite 2016 being a strong year for bitcoins, the value of the virtual currency is yet to reach its 2013 high which saw each coin being valued at in excess of $1,000.

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