Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
It’s been an interesting day for crypto-currency Bitcoin after its valuation passed $600 on a trading platform for the first time, while another major trading company (the world’s largest for Bitcoin) landed a $5 million investment.
Bitcoin seemed in trouble back in October when its valuation tumbled as low as $119 following the FBI seizure of illicit goods marketplace Silk Road, but today BTC China, which recently overtook Japan-based Mt. Gox as the trading system processing the largest volume of Bitcoin, announced a $5 million Series A round of investment — as Technode reports.
Also today, the currency’s valuation passed a record high of $618.94 on Mt.Gox, known for being one of the most reputable indicators of Bitcoin, before dropping down to a steadier number in the $560-$580 range, as charts from Clark Moody show — though the average price remained under $550, according to CoinDesk.
The investment in BTC China comes at an interesting time. Markets and users situated outside of the US — and China in particularly — are waking up to the potential of the virtual currency.
Bitcoin isn’t banned in the US, but the FBI has seized virtual funds held by a number of companies — including Dwolla, which recently ended its support Bitcoin — while lawmakers and financial institutions have adopted a cautious approach and refused to engage with Bitcoin and affiliated companies.
That’s led to a growth in overseas companies handling the currency. Coindesk notes that the top four trading platforms are all non-US:
(1) BTC China traded $298.4m in XBT/CNY (based in China)
(2) Mt. Gox traded $232.8m in XBT/USD (based in Japan)
(3) BitStamp traded $200m in XBT/USD (based in Slovenia)
(4) btc-e traded $119.8m in XBT/USD (based in Bulgaria)
BTC China handles 80,000 in transactions per day, that’s over $50 million worth of the currency. Demand in China and among investors continues to be high despite another Chinese platform disappearing with $4.1 million in customer money just weeks ago.
Earlier this month, Bitcoin had doubled its value in a little over four weeks as it hit a record high of $267. Even today, the average price is considerably higher, and it will be fascinating to watch the dynamic and long-time future of the currency play out now it has significant mass in the US, China and other places.
Image via Antana / Flickr
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.