A sharp increase in demand has seen an exorbitant price rally in crypto-currencies worldwide, with buying being lead by investors in the US, China, Japan and Korea. At present, Bitcoin is trading at $2,550, 155 per cent more than its price in the beginning of the year. In India, it went up to trade at Rs 2.13 lakh at the time of writing this article.
Globally, crypto-currencies’ market cap has surged to $88 billion. A sharp increase in prices in other crypto-currencies, especially Ethereum, has pushed Bitcoin’s market cap below 50 per cent. In the beginning of the year, Ethereum’s price was at $8.5, which is now at $200, representing a 2,400 per cent return. The top three currencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple – have a combined 80 per cent share in total market cap.
While Japan has officially recognised Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, in India, the Centre has issued a discussion paper which emphasises on whether such currencies should be regulated by the government or there should be self-regulation. Explaining the reason for the current rally, an industry player in India said that the consensus reached by Bitcoin miners toward scaling the Bitcoin network with a protocol upgrade (SegWit) and bigger transaction blocks at 2MB, which helped clearing order congestion, were the contributing factors.
Several investors have said that people were converting Ethereum into Bitcoin, resulting in further demand for this top crypto-currency.
According to an international crypto news website, “The Japanese electronics giant OKI is launching a new ‘cash-recycling’ ATM for emerging Asian markets to enables Bitcoin holders to withdraw local currencies from their digital wallets.” Tokyo-based Oki Electric Industry, also known as OKI, is a Japanese electronics manufacturer that commonly sells telecom equipment and printer systems in over a hundred countries around the world. The company is targeting the Japanese, Chinese and Indian markets.