Bitcoin's total value hits record high above $19 billion

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Bitcoin's total value hits record high above $19 billion

Same value as an average FTSE 100 company.

The total value of all bitcoins in circulation hit a record high above US$14 billion (A$19 billion) on Thursday, as the digital currency jumped 5 percent on the day to its highest levels in three years after more than doubling in price this year.

The price of one bitcoin reached US$875 on the Europe-based Bitstamp exchange, its strongest level since January 2014, putting the cryptocurrency on track for its best daily performance in six months.

That compared with levels around US$435 at the start of the year, with many experts linking bitcoin's rise with the steady depreciation of the Chinese yuan, which has slid almost 7 percent this year.

Data shows the majority of bitcoin trading is done in China, so any increase in demand from there tends to have a significant impact on the price.

The digital currency is still some way off the peaks it scaled in late 2013, when it traded as high as US$1163 on the Bitstamp exchange.

But because more bitcoins continue to be added to the system, currently at a rate of 12.5 every 10 minutes, its total value on Thursday surpassed the 2013 peak of around US$14.01 billion.

That puts its total value at around the same as that of an average FTSE 100 company.

Charles Hayter, founder of data analysis website Cryptocompare, said bitcoin had been helped higher by demonetisation in India, and by global political uncertainty.

"If that trend continues, bitcoin is a good thematic play on the fracturing of our global norms as a flight to safety," he said.

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