Another day, another all-time high for the price of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency which is the new darling of currency investors who seemingly can’t get enough of it. In the early hours of Thursday, the most popular among the hundreds of digital currencies was trading at over $1,800.
Other than speculation, there could be some fundamental reasons driving the price of Bitcoin, among which are developments in Australia and Japan which could be giving a fillip to the cryptocurrency. The South Pacific nation plans to make it easier for digital currencies to do business in the country, while Japan has a new exchange that is offering interest on Bitcoin deposits.
According to the 2017-18 budget document, which has a section on innovation and fintech, the Australian government is going to remove double taxation on digital currencies from July 1, which will allow them to be used like regular money. Currently, the government taxes the purchase of digital currencies, and if they are used to pay for a subsequent purchase, the user pays another tax on the second purchase as well (if the second purchase was subject to tax).
So far as tax purposes are concerned, Australia will treat digital currencies “just like money,” the document specified.
In Japan, domestic Bitcoin exchange Coincheck introduced new deposit accounts that offer interest on digital currency. Starting May 9, the Tokyo-based company is offering four separate deposit plans, ranging from 1 percent annual interest rate for a 14-day deposit, to a 5 percent interest rate for the full year, Nikkei Asian Review reported.
This contrasts sharply with the negative 0.1 percent interest rate that the central bank of Japan maintained during its April meeting.
Bitcoin is quite popular in Japan, and hundreds of thousands of Japanese are thought to own some amount of Bitcoin which they do nothing much with. The country started regulating Bitcoin exchanges more vigorously from April 1, and is moving toward developing standards for digital currencies.
As the interest in digital currencies, both by governments and investors, grows, the price of Bitcoin, the most widely used among the cryptocurrencies, is soaring. At 2:05 a.m. EDT Thursday, one Bitcoin was trading for $1,843, an increase of almost $300 since a week ago. In the past month, it has gained close to 50 percent in value.
The meteoric rise in the price of Bitcoin has also worried some regulators, such as a board member at Germany’s central bank. Speaking to local newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Carl-Ludwig Thiele, a board member of Bundesbank, said Tuesday: “Bitcoin is a means of exchange which is not issued by a central bank, but by unidentified actors. I do not see it as a currency. If…