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One bitcoin now worth more than an ounce of gold

The value of the digital currency hits an all-time high of $1,263.72.

Bitcoin. Better than gold?
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

A single unit of Bitcoin, the volatile digital currency that most people have never actually used, hit an all-time high Thursday, making it more valuable than an ounce of gold.

The exchange price for one bitcoin rose $33.36 to $1,263.72, an increase of 2.7 percent, according to CoindDesk's bitcoin price index. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold was trading up $1.70 to $1,233.30.

Since the beginning of the year, bitcoin's value has risen more than 25 percent, while gold is up a little more than 7 percent.

Since its founding in 2009, bitcoin has made a name for itself by allowing for anonymous transactions. The digital currency is now accepted by more than 100,000 merchants worldwide, including Microsoft, Dish and Subway.

But bitcoin's lack of government backing and regulation has led to volatility. Its ever skyrocketing valuation a few years back attracted investors, but some of that enthusiasm faded after bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox declared bankruptcy in 2014 following the reported theft of almost 750,000 customer bitcoins. The value of bitcoin plummeted in August 2016 after a hacker managed to steal millions of dollars worth of the digital currency.

Experts suggest the growth corresponds with a weakening in the Chinese yuan; bitcoin is apparently attractive to Chinese traders because it enables them to evade currency controls.

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