Bitcoin prices turned sharply lower in volatile trade on Tuesday, as speculators booked profits from a recent rally which took prices of the virtual currency to a one-month high on Monday.

BTC/USD tumbled 5.7% during U.S. morning hours to trade at USD965.00 on the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange. The currency rose to a session high of USD1,044.20 earlier in the day.

Bitcoin prices rallied to USD1,092.90 on Monday, the highest since December 6, as demand for the virtual currency remained underpinned amid speculation an increasing number of online retailers will begin accepting Bitcoin payments in the near-future.

In the past month, the number of businesses on CoinMap, a website showing physical companies and vendors accepting Bitcoin, has tripled to more than 2,300.

Bitcoin is digital cash for the internet and it is not backed by a government or central bank to regulate or issue it. It can be used to purchase goods and services from stores and online retailers.

Prices of the virtual currency soared to an all-time high of USD1,241.10 on November 29. It was trading at USD100 in early October.

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