Illustrations of Bitcoins. Photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
Illustrations of Bitcoins. Photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Bitcoin reached a trading price of US$10,000 for the first time on Tuesday, as Gizmodo reports, continuing its run as the best performing asset in the world this year. The cryptocurrency has surged more than tenfold in 2017 alone.

Analysts are divided over whether the milestone is the beginning of the end or just the beginning, but one thing is for certain – China’s attempt to clampdown on trading in the currency did little more than give it a boost.

In September, just weeks after China’s central bank banned fundraising through digital currencies and asked all local exchanges to halt trading, the currency rebounded quickly amid reports that the market was still thriving. Traders, industry insiders said, were bypassing exchanges to buy and sell on peer-to-peer marketplaces.

The China episode underscored the resilience of the virtual currency in the face of skepticism that bitcoin will eventually be taken down by government regulations. Nevertheless, China’s efforts to reign in the activity are real, if not yet effective. Media reports that Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun is involved in bitcoin mining might well have him on edge despite his blanket denial.

“It is fake! So far I have not invested in bitcoin myself, nor invested in any makers of bitcoin mining machines,” Lei was quoted by South China Morning Post as saying Monday on a social media account.

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