Bitcoin prices have risen sharply in the past week, nearing the key psychological level of $600 after lingering close to $450 for most of the last several weeks.

Bitcoin has established a new trend over the last week or so, with markets seeing prices surpass $590 this weekend, according to data from the CoinDesk Bitcoin USD Price Index.

Overall, the digital currency has surged roughly 30% from its opening price of $453.82 on 27th May to $591.03 on 4th June, the highest since 10th August 2014.

The digital currency reached this 20-month high after climbing roughly 6% the session before.

Market observers have offered various explanations for the digital currency’s recent climb, and many have asserted that concerns about yuan devaluation have placed upward pressure on bitcoin prices by helping spur Chinese demand.

Data from yuan-denominated bitcoin markets shows that weekend prices reached a high of ¥3,866.11.

Others have taken a different tack, pointing to fluctuations in ether prices and the significant visibility the cryptocurrency generated following the token sale for Ethereum-based The DAO, the decentralized funding vehicle that drew more than $150 million worth of ethers.

While ether surged 50% in the seven days through 20th May, the currency experienced a sell-off soon after, and bitcoin prices rose nearly 4% during the week through 27th May.

Charles L. Bovaird II is a financial writer and consultant with strong knowledge of securities markets and investing concepts.

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