The bitcoin exchange rate has soared above $1,000, hitting a three-year high. It broke the barrier on 1 January before falling back shortly afterwards, but it recovered again in the early hours of 2 January and it was trading above $1,020 (£831, €975) at the time of writing.

The cryptocurrency emerges from a year in which it appreciated more than 100%, starting on 1 January 2016 at $$411.99 and ending on 31 January 2016 at $908.17.

As Coindesk notes, while bitcoin remains the most widely used and successful cryptocurrency, it was not the only one which appreciated in the past year, as all major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Monero and Dash, gained in 2016.

The news of bitcoin's price increase comes as China, one of the biggest trading markets for the cryptocurrency, saw its central bank announce measures tightening requirements for cross-border transactions in an effort to fight money laundering.

Analysts think that uncertainties brought by world events such as the devaluation of the yuan in China, monetary reforms in India, the economic crisis in Venezuela and the shock results of popular votes in the Brexit referendum, the US presidential election and the Italian constitutional referendum, have driven demand for bitcoins, pushing the price upwards.

The growth of the digital asset ecosystem, including new blockchain and bitcoin-based services entering the market or expanding their reach, has also renewed confidence and interest in cryptocurrencies.

Analysts believe bitcoin's upward rise will continue throughout 2017, possibly smashing the all-time high point of more than $1,230 set in November 2013, at the height of the bitcoin rush. 2013 was a momentous year for bitcoin, whose history has been marked by price volatility. Its price spiked in April and in November 2013, only to crash to below $100. The recent price surge will also fuel ongoing worries over a new bubble taking place.