Bitcoin hits record high

WEB_PHOTO_BITCOIN_DOLLAR_20112017

Bitcoin coins placed on dollar banknotes.

Bitcoin coins placed on dollar banknotes.

WEB_PHOTO_BITCOIN_DOLLAR_20112017

Bitcoin coins placed on dollar banknotes.

Bitcoin coins placed on dollar banknotes.

LONDON - Bitcoin hit a new record high on Monday after smashing through the $8,000 (R112,251) level for the first time over the weekend, marking an almost 50 percent climb in just eight days.

The new high came after leading US payments company Square Inc said late last week that it had started allowing select customers to buy and sell bitcoins on its Cash app.

Bitcoin traded as high as $8,197.81 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up over two percent on the day and around 48 percent up since dipping to $5,555 on November 12.

READ: Zimbabweans turn to bitcoin for survival

An eye-watering eightfold increase in the value of the volatile cryptocurrency since the start of the year has led to multiple warnings that the market is in a bubble, and institutional investors are broadly staying away.

Retail investors, however, as well as some hedge funds and family offices, are piling into the market. The "market cap" of all cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high of over $242-billion on Monday, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.