Bitcoin Surges Past $200; Where to Next?
The digital currency bitcoin continued its surge on Tuesday crossing $200, more than doubling in value in just over one week. Bitcoin's value at the end of February was just over $30.
Bitcoin allows users to exchange online credits for goods and services. There are currently 10 million bitcoins in circulation but the currency is capped at 21 million coins.
Bitcoin's value rise is being ascribed to the uncertainty over other currencies, the fallout from the Cyprus crisis and the intense media speculation.
(Read More: Bitcoin Bubble: How 'Geeks' Sent Prices Parabolic)
Much of that media scrutiny has asked whether Bitcoin's rise is a bubble in the making. Warning signs are evident: the digital currency's value fell $20 last Wednesday when Mt. Gox, the largest trading platform for the currency, suffered an outage for an hour. It also dropped 10 percent in value on Monday without explanation.
David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Markets, says the rising demand for bitcoin makes it a potential safe haven given that the currency has a limited output – by 2140, all bitcoins will have been generated. "If it's something where there will always be demand, the fact that it's limited should give you security, like with gold," Jones said. "The issue is whether at this stage, where it's gone up 200 percent, there is a lot further for it to go. No one knows."
Not all Bitcoin news has been positive. Yesterday it was reported that a piece of malware on Skype was hijacking computers and forcing it to mine bitcoins. Jones said such stories did make for discomforting reading for bitcoin investors.
(Read More: Bitcoin Great for Narco-Dollar Traffickers: Pro)
"Part of bitcoin's appeal is that there is no regulation, so nobody can come in and force quantitative easing etc.," he said, "but no regulation also means someone could turn on a tap and just create more and more bitcoins. I'm not saying bitcoin's price won't go up any further, but I'm not putting my pension on it."
Jones concluded that while bit coin could indeed rise further in the next few weeks,"my guess is that in a year's time I wouldn't be surprised if we'd stopped talking about it."