Bitcoin value surges past $30,000 (£22,000) for first time

Bitcoin has passed $30,000 (£22,000) in value for the first time, continuing a recent sharp rise.

The virtual cryptocurrency hit $30,823.30 at 13:13 GMT on Saturday, just weeks after soaring above $20,000 for the first time.

In the past year Bitcoin has almost quadrupled in value thanks to interest from large investors looking for rapid profits.

Some analysts think it could rise even further as the US dollar drops further.

While the value of the US currency rose in March at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as investors sought safety amid the uncertainty, it has since dropped due to major stimulus from the US Federal Reserve. The currency ended last year with its biggest annual loss since 2017.

Bitcoin is traded in much the same way as real currencies like the US dollar and pound sterling.

Recently it has won growing support as a form of payment online, with PayPal among the most recent adopters of digital currencies.

But the cryptocurrency has also proved to be a volatile investment. 

A previous rally in 2017 saw it come close to breaking through the $20,000 level. But it has also hit extreme lows and has fallen below $3,300 previously.

It passed $19,000 in November last year before dropping sharply again.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey cautioned over its use as a payment method in October.

“I have to be honest, it is hard to see that Bitcoin has what we tend to call intrinsic value,” he said. “It may have extrinsic value in the sense that people want it.”

Mr Bailey added that he was “very nervous” about people using Bitcoin for payments pointing out that investors should realise its price is extremely volatile.

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