Bitcoin, the world’s first free market, decentralised global currency, has surpassed US$1,000 (£613) for the first time according to MTGox, one of the virtual currency’s main exchanges.
Bitcoin has seen fast growth since its introduction in 2008, allowing users the ability to make payments from person to person anonymously. This has caused some criticism, with users for black market sites such as Silk Road (closed by the FBI in October 2013 for selling of illegal goods and services) using Bitcoins to keep their anonymity.
Though the closure of Silk Road was expected to have a negative impact on the Bitcoin currency, it has instead seen a rapid rise since a US Senate committee hearing earlier this month where virtual currencies were described as a “legitimate financial service”. Representatives from the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission were asked their views about virtual currencies, of which senator Thomas Carper said:
“Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably Bitcoin, have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of the rest of us”
The FBI said that it recognised virtual currencies offered “legitimate financial services” but they could be “exploited by malicious actors”.
The legitimate use of Bitcoin is becoming more popular with stores accepting them as payment for goods such as clothing, DVD’s and CD’s, cosmetics and home food deliveries. The first Bitcoin ATM was opened in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this month allowing users to exchange their credits of the digital currency for cash and vice-versa.
This trend is expected to rise, though due to Bitcoin’s volatility there have been suggestions that the technology is not referred to as a currency, but that it should instead be referred to as a stock or commodity.
Source: Various online sites