Bitcoin soars above $3196 to all-time high

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Bitcoin soars above $3196 to all-time high

Partly due to demand for ICOs.

Digital currency Bitcoin has hit a record high, surging above US$2400 (A$3196) as demand for crypto-assets soared with the creation of new tokens to raise funding for start-ups using blockchain technology.

Blockchain, the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, is a financial ledger maintained by a network of computers that can track the movement of any asset without the need for a central regulator.

Bitcoin hit a record of $US2409 yesterday on the BitStamp platform and was last up 4.3 percent at US$2363. So far this year, the price of Bitcoin has more than doubled.

A key reason for Bitcoin's dominance, according to technologists and cybercrime experts, is its size - the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation is more than twice that of the nearest of hundreds of rivals.

Also, a big part of Bitcoin's recent surge is the increase in demand for other digital currencies being sold in so-called "initial coin offerings", or ICOs. Under ICOs, blockchain start-ups sell their tokens directly to the public to raise capital without any regulatory oversight.

"Bitcoin up 100 percent in under 2 months. Shanghai down almost 10 percent same timeframe, compared to most global stocks up. Probably not a coincidence!", Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive at DoubleLine Capital tweeted.

Strong demand for Bitcoins in Japan has also fueled the rise of the virtual currency that can be moved like money around the world quickly and anonymously without the need for a central authority.

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