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Bitcoin soars past $13,000 as Facebook’s Libra fuels demand

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Bitcoin likely to be pushed into mainstream by Facebook Libra

New York: Bitcoin jumped to an 18-month high on Wednesday, as investors looked for safety in alternative investments amid geopolitical tension, and cheered prospects that Facebook Inc’s Libra token could push cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency has surged in value since April and on Wednesday hit a peak of $13,666.02 on the Bitstamp exchange, the highest level since January 2018. So far this year, bitcoin has risen more than 260%, although it remains below its all-time high of nearly $20,000 hit in December 2017.

Bitcoin last traded up 14.7% at $13,475.

Investors have flocked back in to digital currencies after a bruising 2018. Bitcoin has risen for eight consecutive days. And now Facebook has said it would offer its own cryptocurrency, the Libra coin, by end of June 2020.

Analysts say Facebook’s announcement this month has revived interest in digital currencies, while investors seeking safety have also pushed up bitcoin’s price.

“Cryptocurrency traders were reinvigorated by Facebook’s launch of their own digital coin and momentum appears to be stirring up fresh new investors,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst, at online FX broker OANDA in New York.

“Bitcoin skeptics are cautious in trying to stop this surge and may look for the next key resistance level which is $15,000,” he added.

With major central banks keeping interest rates near all-time lows, investors have been looking for ways to diversify their portfolios, including through cryptocurrenies, analysts said.- Reuters