The price of bitcoin rose above $300 (£196, €272) for the first time in three months on Wednesday (28 October), following a sustained price rally throughout September and October. The most recent price surge comes less than a week after the European Court of Justice's ruling that bitcoin should be considered a currency.
Bitcoin last rose above the $300 mark during a brief price spike in July, however, the last time the cryptocurrency was valued at more than $300 for any prolonged period was in January. Since then, bitcoin's price has fallen to as low as $177 (£116, €160), according to some price indexes. At the time of publication, CoinMarketCap had bitcoin's price at $301 with a market cap of $4.4bn (£2.9bn, €4bn).
It is difficult to attribute bitcoin's price increase to any single factor, though some analysts have put it down to the ECJ's recent value added tax (VAT) ruling. The ruling stated that bitcoin transactions "are exempt from VAT under the provision concerning transactions relating to currency, bank notes and coins used as legal tender."
ECJ ruling will 'strengthen bitcoin's popularity'
Commenting at the time of the ruling, tax lawyer Sarah Buxton said: "This ruling is great news for bitcoin enthusiasts and means Europeans can continue to buy bitcoins without paying tax. The ruling treats bitcoin as money and should help strengthen the popularity of this cryptocurrency. This decision may be a step in the right direction towards the recognition of bitcoin as legal tender."
While the ECJ's ruling was greeted favourably by most within the cryptocurrency community, some outside it criticised the court's decision.
"It is a shame to see the ECJ cave in on this issue, and for bitcoin not to be held to universal VAT standards," said Jens Bader, chief commercial officer of Secure Trading. "In my mind, bitcoin is not a currency. It is an exchangeable product − but a product none-the-less − and for that reason I am surprised by the ECJ's ruling."