Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Rising investor interest and belief that China might ease trading restrictions sent the value of bitcoin to a new all-time high Thursday -- $5,200.
The cybercurrency, untethered to any national bank, hit $5,231.48 early Thursday, surpassing the previous high of $5,013.91 last month.
Bitcoin's value has increased 424 percent since the start of the year.
Investors are examining the potential of the currency. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that investment banker Goldman Sachs is considering the installation of a trading desk for bitcoin and other digital currencies. It added Thursday that several hedge funds are being established for bitcoin speculation as well, although JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has referred to the bitcoin sector as a fraud.
Reports have emerged that China's ban on bitcoin trading could soon be reversed, CNBC reported, further adding to the speculation and the increase in bitcoin's price.
Chinese regulators implemented a ban on bitcoin trading in September. China's Xinhua News Agency reported this month that the ban was caused by the currency's use by criminal enterprises, citing money laundering, drug trafficking, smuggling, illegal fund-raising and other criminal activities.
Xinhua's report mentioned that new licensing and anti-money laundering could be put into practice by bitcoin exchanges.