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Bitcoin breaks $19,000 for first time in three years

The value of bitcoin has smashed through $19,000 for the first time in almost three years as analysts predicted it could hit $300,000 (£221,000) in the next 12 months.

The controversial crypto-currency, whose value has swung wildly since it was created in 2009, has shot up in recent weeks.

It is now trading at $19,370 (£14,395), up 175 per cent this year, creeping towards its high of $19,458 in December 2017.

Bitcoin, the value of which has swung wildly since it was created in 2009, has shot up in recent weeks. It is now trading at $19,370 (£14,395), up 175 per cent this year

But some think the upwards trajectory could surpass $100,000 in 2021. Brian Estes, at US hedge fund Off the Chain Capital, said: 'I have seen bitcoin go up 10, 20, 30 times in a year. So going up five times is not a big deal.'

Last week, Citi analyst Tom Fitzpatrick predicted $318,000 by the end of next year.

Demand for the digital currency, which is not backed by a physical asset like gold or a share in a company, has risen since popular online payments company Paypal allowed customers to buy bitcoin in October.

Investors hope they will make stellar gains. But some commentators are warning investors against piling in. 

Toronto trader Kevin Muir said: 'Any hedge fund model on bitcoin is rubbish. You can't model a mania.' 

He agreed bitcoin could surpass $300,000. 

'But does anyone actually have a clue? Not a chance,' he added.

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