|BITCOIN HITS RECORD HIGH ABOVE $1,200 ON TALK OF ETF APPROVAL|
Aruba, February 24, 2017 - Digital currency bitcoin jumped to a record high above $1,200 on Friday, as investors speculated the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to be issued in the United States is set to receive regulatory approval.
Traditional financial players have largely shunned the web-based "crytpocurrency", viewing it as too volatile, complicated and risky, and doubting its inherent value.
But bitcoin, invented in 2008, performed better than any other currency in every year since 2010 apart from 2014, when it was the worst-performing currency, and has added almost a quarter to its value so far this year.
It soared to as high as $1,200 per bitcoin in early Asian trading on Europe's Bitstamp exchange BTC=BTSP, before easing to about $1,190.
That put the total value of all bitcoins in circulation -- or the digital currency's "market cap", as it is known -- at close to $20 billion, around the same size as Iceland's economy.
Some analysts say regulatory approval of a bitcoin ETF would make the currency relatively attractive to the often more cautious institutional investor market.