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Bitcoin soars $600 to new record of $3,400

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The trading value of the bitcoin online currency on Monday reached an all-time high of more than $3,400 -- an increase of more than $600 from its close last week.

Monday afternoon, bitcoin was trading at about $3,380 -- an increase of more than 4 percent since Friday's closing of $2,900. Earlier, it had surpassed the $3,400-mark.

Introduced in 2009, bitcoin has become a major form of web currency in recent years. Much of its trading success is owed to growing interest in China and India, where capital controls are putting a squeeze on cash.

Fears over trade wars, currency manipulation and economic tension in the wake of Britain's planned departure from the European Union -- and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump -- also saw the currency's value spike.

The simple fact that bitcoin is harder to "mine" -- thanks to a process called "halving" -- and is being used by more people, makes it more valuable.

Bitcoin is an anonymous currency that's exclusively digital, but unrecognized by any government. There are only a finite amount of bitcoins -- 21 million -- so the currency can't be manipulated.

Experts say the confidence consumers have in the currency has helped lead the rise of its value.

"That's what supports the cryptocurrency right now, confidence," Ronnie Moas, founder of financial research firm Standpoint Research, told CNBC. "If there's something that shakes people's confidence in crypto then they will sell off. The further we get into this game the less likely you will get something like that."

Bitcoin's value has soared in recent weeks. At the end of May, its then-new record was $2,500.

Mike Bambach and Brooks Hays contributed to this report.

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