Leading virtual currency Bitcoin traded above $20,000 for the first time on Wednesday following a sustained higher run in recent weeks. Bitcoin reached a record-high $20,398.50 before pulling back to $20,145, which was still an intra-day gain of nearly four per cent.
Meanwhile, a number of central banks have responded to the rise of cryptocurrencies and the dwindling global use of cash by announcing plans for bank-backed digital units.
Buoyed by demand from larger investors Bitcoin has gained more than 170 per cent this year. It is expected that it will become a mainstream payment method.
Bitcoin’s blistering rally has seen a massive flow of coin to North America from East Asia, fuelled by hunger for bitcoin among bigger and compliance-wary US investors. The rally in bitcoin, which some investors have seen as a potential safe-haven, has coincided with spot gold’s drop in recent months.
Some investors such as hedge funds and family offices have in the past been deterred by the opaque nature of the crypto market. Tightening oversight of the American crypto industry has helped soothe some of those concerns.