Bitcoin prices rebounded sharply on Monday, picking up where they left off before the Easter long weekend, as investors evaluated news that Russia was looking to to regulate cryptocurrency payments.
The BTC/USD exchange rate reached a daily high of $1,205.89. Prices consolidated just below $1,200.00 at 1:49 p.m. ET for a gain of 1.3%.
Bitcoin surged last week after Japan moved to legalize cryptocurrency and standardize blockchain technology. At the same time, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev told Bloomberg his country was seeking to regulate the cryptocurrency market, a major divergence from the government’s anti-bitcoin stance previously.
Moiseev said Russia could recognize bitcoin and other digital currencies as a legal financial instrument as early as next year in an effort to step up its anti-money laundering initiative.
State regulation of bitcoin could make the digital currency more attractive from an investment perspective. Bitcoin has gained considerable mainstream appeal over the past two years thanks in large part to the potential of its blockchain technology.
Blockchain is especially attractive for the banking industry, which relies on a network of domestic and international firms to facilitate the flow of money.
A recent study released by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance found that there are up to 5.8 million active users of cryptocurrencies in the world, with bitcoin representing 72% of the total share.
At $1,200, bitcoin’s market capitalization has swelled to nearly $20 billion. Ethereum, the second largest digital currency, has a market value of around $4.4 billion.