Bitcoin reaches new high as it approaches $5300

Richard Branson CEO of Virgin Galactic which accepts bitcoin as a form of payment

Richard Branson CEO of Virgin Galactic which accepts bitcoin as a form of payment

Bitcoin was soaring Thursday, hitting a new all-time high above the $5,200 mark. Since the start of 2017, the value of the cryptocurrency has increased by 500% this year. The crackdown was amid fears that a rapid increase in consumers could lead to wider financial solutions.

Bitcoin's community of users control and regulate the currency, and the anonymity of transactions that endears it to libertarians has raised concerns that it can be abused by criminals.

On Tuesday, a top Russian central banker said bitcoin exchanges would be banned in the country as part of a broader fight against money laundering.

Recent reports that the Chinese government will ease regulations and that Goldman Sachs is exploring how it could help its clients trade cryptocurrencies are now helping sentiment.

Professor of economics and public policy at Harvard University, Kenneth Rogoff, expects the price of Bitcoin to collapse. Bitcoin began the year near $1000 and has been on a tear ever since. "But it is an entirely different matter for governments to allow large-scale anonymous payments, which would make it extremely hard to collect taxes or counter criminal activity". Just like other currencies, bitcoins can be exchanged for goods and services - or for other currencies - provided the other party is willing to accept them.

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