independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Bitcoin price passes $1,000 as Zynga to accept currency

File picture of Marcus Segal, CEO of Game Studio Operations for Zynga; Barry O’Leary, outgoing chief executive, IDA Ireland; and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton at Zynga’s Dublin office
File picture of Marcus Segal, CEO of Game Studio Operations for Zynga; Barry O’Leary, outgoing chief executive, IDA Ireland; and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton at Zynga’s Dublin office

The price of Bitcoin surpassed $1,000 (€732) again after gaming company Zynga said it would start accepting the virtual currency for some of its online social games.

Bitcoins, which exist as software and aren't controlled by any country or banking authority, surged to about $1,045 on the Mt.Gox online exchange, one of several markets where they are traded for dollars, euro and other currencies.

Bitcoins first crossed the $1,000 threshold in late November and reached a record at $1,238 on Mt.Gox on December 4, then plummeted to as low as $640 after China's largest online market for the virtual currency stopped accepting deposits.

The digital currency has rebounded as more merchants accept Bitcoins.

Zynga is the latest merchant to accept Bitcoins, which can be used to buy virtual items in games.

"Bitcoin has been remarkably resilient in the face of all the bad news out of China," said Nicholas Colas who is chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group. "The strength shows a continued interest, which is a very positive sign."

Bitcoin was trading for about $13 a year ago, before wider acceptance and speculators drove prices higher. The rally gained steam in October, after regulators shut down the Silk Road Hidden Website, where people could obtain guns, drugs and other illicit goods using Bitcoins. That generated optimism the digital money would become more widely used. In November, law enforcement and securities agencies said in US Senate hearings that Bitcoin could be a legitimate means of exchange.

"We look forward to hearing from our players about the Bitcoin test so we can continue in our efforts to provide the best possible gaming experience," Zynga said.

Victoria's Secret has signed up with Gyft, an app that lets users buy gift cards with Bitcoins. Overstock.com Inc plans to start accepting Bitcoins next summer, Chief executive officer Patrick Byrne said in an interview last month. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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