CYBER CURRENCY Bitcoin has passed the milestone $1,000 mark for the first time.
According to Bitcoin Exchange Mt Gox, the $1,000 value figure, or approximately £614, was reached Wednesday, representing an astronomic rise of $980 since January, and making virtual millionaires out of many unsuspecting investors.
The Bitcoin bubble has been aided by the decision by US financial authorities to regard Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, though they stopped short of declaring it legal tender.
Bitcoin's use in the hidden, so-called Dark Web has exploded, due to its secure, anonymous nature, making it popular for conducting illegal transactions including those for drugs, sexual favours, and most recently a crowdfunding website that promises assassination attempts on public figures if targets are reached.
The popularity of Bitcoin has grown in spite of the closure of clandestine marketplace Silk Road, after the American government realised it was doing exactly what it was set up to do. Other factors behind the rise of Bitcoin have included its use in China as a means to subvert the restrictions on transactions over the Great Firewall of Chian, and as we reported recently, Richard Branson accepting it for his Virgin Galactic flights.
In the week since we wrote that story, in which we speculated that the $1,000 mark might be reached 'sometime next year' the value of the payment made by the first prospective Bitcoin astronaut has increased to bolster Branson's investment by $72,000.
While commentators have repeatedly said that they believe the bubble will burst soon, with each milestone reached this prediction is confounded still further. What is clear, though, is that this is a very volatile currency. Tracking it in real time can see it jump up or down by $20 within a few seconds, and in the quantities that many investors trade in, those twenties add up quickly. µ