p Bitcoin surged to an all-time high above $1,400 (£1,084) on Tuesday, after more than tripling in value over the past year, with its most recent rise attributed to strong demand in Japan, where the digital currency has been deemed a legal means of payment.
Cryptocompare, a data website that analyses bitcoin trading across dozens of exchanges globally, said around 50 per cent of trading volume over the past 24 hours had been on the bitcoin/Japanese yen exchange rate.
"The Japanese have recently warmed their approach towards bitcoin by treating it legally as a form of payment - a ratification and bringing into the regulatory fold," said Charles Hayter, the website's founder.
"China's clampdown on exchanges can also be seen as a positive move for the industry too," he added.
Chinese authorities have increased scrutiny of exchanges this year and have forced them to start charging trading fees, after becoming concerned about bitcoin speculation and its potential use in money laundering.
Bitcoin surged as much as 3 per cent on Tuesday on the Europe-based Bitstamp exchange, where trading is dollar-denominated, to hit $1,437, its highest since its 2008 launch.