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The digital currency club is nearing 300-mark with new entrants such as Yin, Yang, Speed, Love and Silicon Valley coins sprouting unabated, while the market leader 'bitcoin' recovers from tightened regulatory vigil and collapse of its largest trading platform. The total number of digital currencies currently in the market has reached 290, while at least 100 new players have joined the club in the last two months only, shows the market data for these virtual currencies that are not linked to any real currency and can be traded on digital platforms. While bitcoin and other such currencies began coming into existence about four years ago, their frenzied proliferation has taken place despite being without any official recognition of any government or central bank across the world. The data shows that there are at least 700 online marketplaces for such currencies. Bitcoin, which carries a price tag of about USD 500 and a daily volume of about USD 30 million, is the most popular, followed by Litecoin, Darkcoin, Peercoin, Nxt and Dogecoin. Incidentally, the craze for such currencies has hopped from one controversy to another so far in 2014 and Bitcoin Foundation Vice Chairman Charlie Shrem has been charged by the US Attorney Preet Bharara for allegedly attempting to sell the crypto-currency to narcotics traffickers. In February, Bitcoin suffered a further setback when Mt.
Gox -- the largest exchange for this virtual currency -- filed for bankruptcy in Japan after 850,000 units went missing. While bitcoin has been seeing a tremendous price volatility, operators and users are looking for newer and other alternatives that they perceive as safer, say traders. However, at least 140 existing digital currencies have very low trading volumes with daily turnover of less than USD 1000 each. The new units take their names from a wide range of subjects like fruits (Applecoin), countries (SpainCoin, GermanyCoin) and even astronomy (MoonCoin, Marscoin). Braving regulatory warnings and new risks like rampant hacking attacks on virtual currency exchanges as well as trading platforms, these new currencies have been floated by enthusiasts who claim that units offer benefits like lowest transaction costs and ease of transfer across borders. Bitcoin, accounting for over two thirds of total virtual currency volume, has fallen the most to an average price of USD 500 from lofty highs of USD 1,200 apiece in late 2013 after trading below USD 100 for most part of 2013. According to market estimates, the collective valuation of all virtual currencies put together has dropped below USD 8 billion from USD 13 billion at the beginning of this year. At end of 2013, there were total 67 virtual currencies in the market, while their number was in single digits about four years ago as virtual currencies could not strike a chord among users amid a global financial crisis.