Bitcoin soared to an all-time high above US$10,000 on Tuesday in some smaller exchanges and digital currency indexes, but remained just below that milestone in major trading platforms such as Luxembourg-based BitStamp and US-based GDAX.
On CEX.IO, which started out as a cloud mining provider, bitcoin hit US$10,234. On cryptocurrency index coinmarketcap.com, bitcoin touched US$10,050.
But bitcoin has not crossed that US$10,000 mark on BitStamp; Coinbase's digital asset exchange GDAX; or Gemini Exchange, owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
Still, bitcoin has gained more than 900 per cent so far this year, on increased institutional demand for crypto-currencies as financial and mainstream use has expanded.
The first crypto-currency hit a high of US$9,968 on BitStamp. It last traded up more than two per cent on the day at US$9,907.70.
"With bitcoin nearing US$10,000, long-time bitcoiners finally feel vindicated that their currency that has been ridiculed for years, is at last being taken seriously," said Sol Lederer, blockchain director at San Francisco-based technology company LOOMIA.
"Bitcoin's future is still uncertain; it faces the same serious technical challenges it has for years and faces stiff competition from newer, more sophisticated blockchains. But even if it were to crash, it's apparent that bitcoin is here to stay."
In some of the emerging markets, bitcoin has hit well over US$10,000. In Zimbabwe, bitcoin traded at US$17,875 on Monday. Tuesday's price in Zimbabwe was not available.
In South Korean exchanges, bitcoin was already at close to US$11,000 or higher. It traded at nearly US$11,000 on Tuesday on bithumb and hit the US$10,000 milestone on Monday. At Coinone, bitcoin traded at more than US$11,700, and at US$11,734 on Korbit.
Bitcoin has been boosted as exchanges such as the CME Group and the Chicago Board Options Exchange announced plans to launch futures contracts for the currency.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by David Gregorio)