Interest in Bitcoin, which has a controlled money supply not backed by any central bank, has peaked in recent days due to fears over the security of traditional currencies, as well as regulators handing it new credibility.
Yesterday, the price of a Bitcoin rose from $142 (£92.63) to a peak of $164.90, having increased steadily last week. The currency was trading at around $163.99 last night.
Meanwhile, data from Google showed that Russians were the world’s keenest searchers for Bitcoin, adding weight to the belief that much of the recent rise in the currency’s price was down to the Cypriot banking crisis.
Bank levies and restrictions on moving money in Cyprus have hit many Russian savers, who were disproportionately exposed to the country’s banks. Other countries to search for Bitcoin frequently are the US, Finland and Sweden, while those in western European countries appear less interested. The rising price of a Bitcoin suggests investors are not concerned about the prospect of a cyber attack denting its value. In 2011, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin led to its value crashing. The currency, whose supply is controlled by requiring computer-intensive mining, has risen tenfold since the start of the year.