Bitcoin trades above $5000 for first time ever

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It is now worth four times more than an ounce of gold.

Bitcoin smashed through the US$5000 (NZ$7000) barrier for the first time, jumping as much as 8 percent on the day as investors shrugged off the latest warnings on the risks of buying into the booming cryptocurrency market. Eastern, according to CoinMarketCap, having gained almost 9% in the preceding 24 hours.

Most merchants that accept crypt coins as a mode of payment prefer Bitcoins over other cryptocurrencies. Since the start of 2017, the value of the cryptocurrency has increased by 500% this year. As recently as December, bitcoin was trading at less than $1 000 dollars.

That said, Goldman Sachs is reportedly considering offering bitcoin trading and even China is considering easing restrictions of the cryptocurrency. A spokeswoman for the investment bank confirmed that there was client interest in the project, but reiterated that the initiative was still in its early stages.

Finally, on Thursday morning, Bloomberg reported JPMorgan Chase's chief financial officer said the firm is open-minded to digital currency - and Dimon said: "I'm not going to talk about bitcoin anymore".

Bitcoin nearly reached US$5000 at the start of September, but fell back sharply after the head of Goldman Sachs blasted the cryptocurrency as a "fraud" and as China forced exchanges to close down, sparking fears of a broader crackdown.

It has been a volatile journey, with the cryptocurrency sliding down to under $3,000 last month when Chinese authorities announced a ban on trading the currency.