The digital currency bitcoin has broken new records – surging by more than 245 per cent since the start of the year.
In just five months, the price of one bitcoin rose from $1,331 to its all-time-high of $3,894 on May 25.
People buy bitcoins for all sorts of reasons. They range from those seeking to invest in safe haven assets in the face of political instability, speculators wanting to ride the wave of what some regard to be an asset bubble, to purchasers who want to purchase illegal goods anonymously on the dark web.
Since mid-2010, when the highly-volatile currency was worth just 9 cents, it has surged by more than 4 million per cent.
When you add the value of every bitcoin, its current market capitalisation is $49.6 billion – almost half of the value of all cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, however, is not the only digital currency which has enjoyed a strong market rally.
“We’ve had the total market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies rising three-fold this year – from around US$25 billion to now US$75 billion,” according to Steve Sammartino, entrepreneur and technology author.
In Australian dollar terms, the total market capitalisation is more than $101 billion.
“The big two, bitcoin and ethereum, are heading the charge,” Mr Sammartino told ABC’s The World Today.
By business reporter David Chau