Bitcoin hits new record, nears $1 tln total value

Bitcoin steamed to fresh record highs Friday (February 19).

The cryptocurrency jumped as much as 2.6%.

That took it to around $53,000.

The gains meant its total market capitalisation approached one trillion dollars.

This month alone the virtual currency is up around 60%.

Bitcoin's gains have been fueled by signs of mainstream acceptance.

Credit card giant Mastercard just one of the firms to say it would start handling the currency.

Still, many skeptics remain wary of the patchily regulated and highly volatile asset.

Analysts at JP Morgan say Bitcoin is way above any estimate of fair value.

Proponents counter that the e-coin is a kind of 'digital gold', which could protect investors from any rise in inflation.

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