Business / Financial Markets

Bitcoin price briefly tops ¥1 million, 10 times higher than in early 2017, on Tokyo exchange

Kyodo

The price of one bitcoin digital currency briefly topped ¥1 million ($8,900) Sunday for the first time on a major exchange in Japan amid hopes for its widespread use.

According to Japanese exchange Coincheck, the bitcoin hit ¥1,001,904 at one point Sunday afternoon, marking a 10-fold increase since January, when it was trading at around ¥100,000.

Market analysts said the rise in the price could be attributed to media reports that a major U.S. futures exchange plans to launch bitcoin futures, which spurred expectations that the bitcoin market will expand.

Bitcoin, with a market capitalization of around ¥16 trillion, makes up around half of the combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies, which number over 1,000.

Due to its relatively cheap transaction costs, bitcoin has been widely used in China, Europe and the United States. The system works without a public administrator such as a government or central bank.

In Japan, major electronics retailer Bic Camera Inc. started accepting payments in bitcoin in April.

But its soaring price has led to warnings of a bubble. A manager at a major Japanese cryptocurrency exchange business said the “prices do not reflect its fair value,” urging market players to be mindful of the risk of a price fall.