World's most valuable cryptocurrency leapt past $7,000 mark to hit yet another all-time high Thursday.
According to websites specializing in digital currencies, bitcoin jumped 8 percent Thursday morning, reaching record value of $7,300.11.
The cryptocurrency broke another record as its market capitalization has now peaked at $121 billion, while total market value of all cryptocurrencies topped $189 billion for the first time.
Analysts believe the increase was largely helped by the world's largest exchange operator CME Group, which announced that it would launch bitcoin futures trading. CME Group's move could lead to the cryptocurrency entering the financial mainstream.
Meanwhile, online retail giant Amazon purchased three cryptocurrency-related internet domains.
The domains Amazon secured included amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com.
Earlier, Amazon bought amazonbitcoin.com, which currently directs users to the internet giant's official website.
Bitcoin, a virtual currency created from computer code, was worth only a few U.S. cents when launched in 2009 by someone using the Japanese-sounding name Satoshi Nakamoto.
Unlike a real-world unit such as the U.S. dollar or euro, bitcoin has no central bank and is not backed by any government.
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.
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. The lack of transparency has also sparked concerns that the swings in its value may be due to speculative trading.
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