Bitcoin crosses $1,800 for the first time adding $3 billion in market cap in just four days

Bitcoin crosses $1,800 for the first time adding $3 billion in market cap in just four days
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Bitcoin surpassed $1,800 on Thursday to a fresh record high, rising more than $100 in just two days, driven by comments from policy makers and positive noises around the future of the cryptocurrency.

The price of the digital currency was trading at around $1,824 by early morning in London, according to Coindesk's bitcoin price index. It breached $1,700 for the first time on Tuesday.

Since Monday, the market capitalization of bitcoin has risen over $3 billion to $29.53 billion. The price of bitcoin has soared 81 percent since the start of the year.

The latest price driver was comments from Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari. The policymaker talked up the potential of blockchain – the technology that underpins bitcoin.

"I would say I think conventional wisdom now is that blockchain and the underlying technology is probably more interesting and has more potential than maybe bitcoin does by itself," Kashkari said at a technology conference, according to Reuters.

His comments are the latest in a growing number of officials that have supported bitcoin and blockchain technology, helping to bring it more into the mainstream.

Japan legalized the cryptocurrency as a payment method recently and this has led to a greater amount of bitcoin being bought with yen, which is helping to support the price.

At the same time, Russia, one of the strongest opponents of bitcoin is seeking to regulate the digital currency.

In the U.S., Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss proposed an exchange-traded fund (ETF), which would have allowed large institutional investors to get in on bitcoin. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected the application, but they are now reviewing their original decision, stoking hope that it might get a second chance.

Such positive noises have led to some experts, such as Aurelien Menant, founder and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated blockchain assets exchange based in Hong Kong, to suggest that the price of bitcoin could hit $3,000 by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, within the bitcoin community, a debate has been raging about the future of the technology that underpins bitcoin. Transactions in bitcoin are taking longer than they have done before because of a backlog in the system. Some community members proposed a solution that could have led to a process known as a "hard fork", leading to two separate bitcoin currencies. Such concerns have abated however with an alternative solution being put forward.

Read this article for a full recap and explanation of the debate and why it matters to the bitcoin price.

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