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Bitcoin roars past $15,000 to new record
December 08, 2017
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LONDON: Bitcoin soared past $15,000 to a fresh record on Thursday, triggering warnings about the cryptocurrency’s rapid ascent ahead of its looming launch on mainstream markets.

After passing the $15,000 mark for the first time around 1000 GMT, the surge continued with an all-time high of $15,969.99, before falling back to just under $15,500 according to Bloomberg data.

The fresh surges came just a day after the virtual currency, which has been used to buy everything from an ice cream to a pint of beer, hit the $12,000-mark for the first time, while it has soared more than 50 per cent in value in just one week.

Bitcoin − which came into being in 2009 as a bit of encrypted software and has no central bank backing it and no legal exchange rate − has rocketed from a 2017-low of $752 in mid-January and has surged dramatically in the past month.

The increased interest has been driven by growing acceptance among traditional investors of an innovation once considered the preserve of computer nerds and financial experts.

But some, including the US Federal Reserve, have warned against dabbling in bitcoin as it could threaten financial stability, and fears of a bubble have increased.

Meanwhile, gains in technology stocks helped lift the Nasdaq on Thursday, while the S&P 500 and the Dow were weighed down by losses in consumer stocks.

Chanel’s forecast comes as online gaming website Steam said it will no longer accept bitcoin for payment, owing to soaring transaction fees and the asset’s volatile performance.

There are mounting concerns about its introduction into the mainstream financial system after US regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission last week cleared the way for bitcoin futures to trade on major exchanges, a decision analysts say has helped spur the recent rally.

Bitcoin is to be offered on the CBOE Futures Exchange from this weekend and on the world’s biggest futures venue, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, from December 18.

The Futures Industry Association, which groups some of the world’s biggest derivatives brokerages, criticised the plans in a letter to the regulator, saying that contracts are being rushed through without the risks being properly weighed up.

Agence France-Presse

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