The price of bitcoin ticked over the $8,000 a coin mark in the middle of last week and has stayed above that point in the days since.
The volatile cryptocurrency has had a rocky ride so far in 2018. It had been falling since the end of May and then hit a year low of $5,785 on 24 June.
It left many investors, some of whom may have bought bitcoin when it was a peak price of nearly $20,000 in late December, anxiously waiting to see if it could recover.
Bitcoin bounce: The price of the coin has risen 40% since it a hit a year low a month ago
The price would still need to rise 150 per cent to go back to those levels, but investors may be hoping the rises are a sign of things to come.
This time last year, the price of bitcoin was around $2,850 a coin.
Today it sits at $8,150, meaning a healthy return for anyone who ploughed into the cryptocurrency at that point.
By the end of September 2017, it had risen to $4,350. By the end of October it was $6,450 and November almost $10,000, as cryptocurrency mania swept the world.
The recent movement in bitcoin comes at a time when there are hopes within the industry of a US exchange-traded bitcoin fund and ramped up interest from institutional investors.
Higher: Bitcoin has risen to above $8k a coin. The top graph shows its price in the last three months, the bottom one from the last year
A recent survey of more than 2,000 Britons by IW Capital – a London-based SME investment house – shows 38 per cent of the population do not understand cryptocurrency at all.
The survey also found that only five per cent of those who have invested in cryptocurrency have made financial gains, suggesting many have got involved after the price peaks at the end of 2017.
IW Capital estimates that 2.5million Britons may have casually invested in cryptocurrency without fully understanding the investment.
Meanwhile, the price of other ‘major’ cryptocurrencies have not seen the same bounce as bitcoin in the last week.
Ethereum is currently at $460 a coin.
Towards the end of May it was at $715 and in mid-January touched $1,400.
Ripple is at $0.45 a coin, down from around $0.68 a coin towards the end of May and litecoin is at $0.83, down from $1.20 a coin in the same period.
It could again mean investors who plumped for any of these cryptocurrencies may be, at presently, nursing heavy losses.
IF YOU DO BUY INTO BITCOIN
Find out how bitcoin and the blockchain works, so that you have some understanding of the system, the ledger, the major players and the public and private key elements.
Remember bitcoin yields nothing and its main source of value is scarcity. Most bitcoin activity is trading not investing.
Research coin wallets, the digital vaults where cryptocurrency is held, and consider security carefully. Bitcoins have been stolen before, understand how this happened.
Be prepared for extreme volatility. The price can move by 20 per cent in one day and you could easily lose half of your cash in a far quicker time that investing in the stock market.
Consider how you would cash in any gains. There are reports that this has proved hard for some people. A time of market stress could lead to people being locked in and unable to trade.
Read our guide to How to be a successful investor, which looks at the far less high octane world of long-term investing and how to make it a success.
What is bitcoin?
The digital currency that most will be familiar with is free from government interference and can be shared instantly online. It doesn’t rely on trusting one central monetary authority.
The underlying technology is blockchain, a financial ledger maintained by a network of computers that can track the movement of any asset without the need for a central regulator.