Bitcoin has smashed through the $40,000 mark after another day of stellar gains. The controversial cryptocurrency, whose value is now gaining another $10,000 every few weeks, hit $40,427 yesterday evening. Investors have piled into the digital currency in droves over recent months as they try to capitalise on its meteoric rise.
Bitcoin is seen by some investors as a safe way of storing their money, since there are a limited number of the online ‘coins’ which can ever exist.
They believe this should maintain demand, and prevent its value from falling significantly, in contrast with other traditional currencies as central banks across the world have been printing out more and more money during the coronavirus crisis.
But others see it as a risky bet, as it does not have an inherent value. Nevertheless, it is making some traders incredibly rich. Bitcoin firm Mode Global, which has an app allowing investors to buy and hold bitcoin, saw trading volumes on its platform shoot up by 1500 per cent between August and December.
The company is so confident about the future of bitcoin that in October it became the first UK-listed company to invest 10 per cent of its cash reserves in the digital currency. Its shares shot up 34 per cent, or 16p, to 63p yesterday. In the more sobering world of traditional stocks and shares, rail ticket seller Trainline had to tap the bond market for £150million as it desperately attempted to stay on track.
The firm, known for its website and phone app, has been struggling since the pandemic began as travel has slumped and train ticket sales have plummeted. Trainline has already managed to hammer out a waiver on its debt agreements with its banks, to prevent them calling in the loans as its profits plunged.
Now it is hoping to raise £150million by selling bonds to investors, giving more cash to protect the company if Covid continues and to allow it to invest in future growth. Buyers of the five-year bonds are expected to receive interest payments of 1 per cent per year. And if the Trainline’s shares increase in value by 50 per cent from today’s price, the bonds will convert into shares in the company.
While this might be good for bondholders, if Trainline’s performance picks up when the pandemic eventually ends and they get access to cheap shares, it could mean existing shareholders have their stakes watered down. Shares in Trainline dipped 6.8 per cent, or 32.6p, to 444.6p.
Over at outsourcer G4S, one of the most acrimonious takeover battles of 2020 looked set to continue into the new year. Gardaworld, the Canadian security firm which lost out in its bid for G4S to US rival Allied Universal, said it had not yet given up hope of buying the British firm.
Garda on Wednesday night urged G4S investors not to accept Allied’s bid – putting it head-to-head with G4S’s board, which has recommended the offer to shareholders. G4S announced last month that it was rejecting Garda’s 235p per share offer in favour of Allied’s 245p per share bid.
But Garda’s founder Stephan Cretier has staked his reputation on the deal, saying it is a necessary stepping stone in his dream to create a global security giant, and is not giving up easily. G4S shares crept up 0.4 per cent, or 1p, to 260.6p, suggesting investors think a renewal of the bidding war could be in sight.
The FTSE 100 managed to keep its head above water, climbing 0.22 per cent, or 15.10 points, to 6859.96 amid vaccine hopes. And the FTSE 250 index of mid-sized companies crept up 0.17 per cent, or 36.7 points, to 21,009.86.