Bitcoin value rises over $1 billion as Japan, Russia move to legitimize cryptocurrency

A bitcoin token stands next to a collection of U.S. one dollar bills in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A bitcoin token stands next to a collection of U.S. one dollar bills in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.

At the same time, Russia, one of the strongest opponents of bitcoin is seeking to regulate the digital currency. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev told Bloomberg in an interview this week that the authorities hope to recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legal financial instrument in 2018 in a bid to tackle money laundering.

“The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain,” Moiseev told Bloomberg.

“If there’s a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations.”

Increasing state regulation around bitcoin could make the cryptocurrency an attractive investment for investors who previously shied away from it due to the high risk and price swings.

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