The cryptocurrency rose to as much as $4,602.79 during early Wednesday morning’s trading, according to Bitcoin.com data. Bitcoin edged off that high in the afternoon trade, when its price went down to $4,559.93.
Bitcoin prices have been enjoying a strong rally, rising close to 400 percent this year. The digital currency broke through $4,000 for the first time in early August and has been trading in that range for a few weeks.
Analysts attributed the price surge to sustained investor interest in acquiring the digital asset, despite its lofty trading price, especially following reports of an increased nuclear threat from North Korea. According to state news outlets, a North Korean missile launched on Tuesday crossed Japan’s northern Hokkaido island before landing in the sea.
The missile launch, which North Korea said was “the first step” of its military operations in the Pacific, triggered public alerts in Japan and prompted investors to look for a haven asset.
Andrew Keys, head of global business development at ConsenSys, told CNBC that there is “a flight to safety due to the issues in North Korea, similar to when investors previously flocked to gold out of equities during previous wars.”
Keys’ comment echoed that of Panos Mourdoukoutas’ earlier observation that tensions in Asia are propelling bitcoin’s price to new all-time highs. The professor and chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York, previously wrote on Forbes the prospect of war between South Korea and China over the former’s deployment of a U.S.-supplied missile defense system as well as the boiling tensions in South China Sea undermine the demand for the Japanese yen, the South Korean won and the Chinese yuan, noting that “investors would rather hold bitcoin rather than any regional currency.”