Bitcoin crossed the $35,000 mark for the first time in Asia on Wednesday to rise to a high of $35,879, less than three weeks after crossing $20,000 (roughly Rs. 14.6 lakh) for the first time, on December 16. The world's biggest cryptocurrency has risen more than 800 per cent since mid-March.
Bitcoin's steep rise can be attributed to a variety of factors. Some expect bitcoin to become a mainstream payment method in due course. Others see bitcoin as a hedge against inflation as governments and central banks turn on the stimulus taps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet others view it as a safe-haven play during the COVID-19 pandemic, something akin to gold, according to analysts.
Bitcoins were launched in 2009 and have become the world's largest cryptocurrency in a decade's time. Unlike physical currency, bitcoins are created, traded and distributed through a decentralized ledger system known as a blockchain.