The price of bitcoin has risen by almost 10 per cent in the last 24 hours, marking a significant change in fortunes for the world's most valuable cryptocurrency.

Litecoin, ethereum and ripple were among other cryptocurrencies to see major gains, following months of market-wide stagnation

The sudden market turn-around has led to speculation about what may have caused such gains, with some analysts pointing to bitcoin's inflated hash rate.

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Hash rate measures the amount of power that the bitcoin network is consuming in order to process transactions and generate new units of the cryptocurrency. On Friday, 8 February, bitcoin's hash rate hit its highest level since November 2018, meaning more miners are joining the network.

The latest gains have seen bitcoin rise by more than $300 to $3,663 at the time of writing, though this still represents a fraction of the $20,000 highs reached in December 2017. 

It is unclear whether the price surge is sustainable, though bitcoin's increased trading volume could be a signifier of more market movement still to come. 

Inflation-stricken Venezuela has helped push up bitcoin trading volumes, posting its highest volume to date this week.

The South American country recently pegged its national currency to the government-launched petro cryptocurrency in an effort to prevent economic collapse.

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