Bitcoin Tops $15K, Surging about $3K in 33 Hours

Illustration by Alex Castro  The Verge

Illustration by Alex Castro The Verge

Bitcoin surged past US$16,000 for the first time on Thursday, spiking more than US$3,000 within a span of 24 hours, as investors continued to place frenzied speculative bets on the cryptocurrency.

The Futures Industry Association, the main industry lobby group, warned that the introduction of bitcoin futures "did not allow for proper public transparency and input", according to the Financial Times (paywall). That takes its rally this year past 1.500% and its market capitalisation is now at $274 billion.

Investors flocking to open new accounts or place orders Thursday left Coinbase, the largest United States exchange, warning of outages and slow transactions. On Thursday it topped out at $16,777.08 after starting the day at $13,363.25. "This is a very, very unusual market, that shows we're not in a normal two-way trading market".

These contracts are being seen as a big step forward...

The new bitcoin derivatives products are slated to begin trading this month and are expected to boost mainstream demand.

It may also help solve a major issue that occurred overnight.

Bitcoin soared above $19,500 a coin on Coinbase's GDAX exchange on Thursday at about 11:30 a.m. ET, three hours after it blew past $16,000. The company had 13.3 million users as of November 26, up from 13 million on November 22 and 10.6 million two months ago.

Exchange operator Cboe Holdings will launch its bitcoin futures contract this weekend, while CME Group says its futures will launch on December 18. Nasdaq Inc is planning to offer futures in 2018, according to a person familiar with the matter. For example, New York-based Gemini had temporary suspended both bitcoin and ether withdraws this morning since the odds of a transaction actually processing were so low. The digital currency also got a boost from a successful test of a technology that will attempt to ease congestion in purchases of the digital currency.

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