Bitcoin Blasts Past $14,000

Bitcoin crossed the $14,000 mark on at least one exchange after rising above $12,000 less than 24 hours earlier.
The digital currency’s latest swing higher comes after a 20 percent plunge last week.
The overall pace of gains have accelerated in the last several weeks ahead of the launch of bitcoin futures by major exchanges.

By Evelyn Cheng | @chengevelyn

Bitcoin rocketed higher Wednesday, crossing the $14,000 mark on at least one exchange less than 24 hours after topping $12,000.

The landmark happened on the Coinbase exchange just before 6 p.m. ET, and it traded as high as $14,344.22 on that platform.

That said, there are often significant price differentials on different bitcoin exchanges. CoinDesk, a widely regarded industry site, said as of 6:16 p.m. ET that its average of prices across leading exchanges showed a high point of $13,810.72 for the cryptocurrency.

The digital currency’s gains accelerated after crossing the psychologically key level on Tuesday night. Bitcoin now has a market value of more than $230 billion, meaning it would rank among the 20 largest stocks in the S&P 500.

The latest swing higher came as bitcoin topped $12,000 Tuesday night in a rapid recovery from a 20 percent drop last week.

The digital currency began the year below $1,000 and its gains have accelerated as investor interest grows. Chicago-based Cboe Global Markets is planning to launch bitcoin futures on Sunday, while the world’s largest futures exchange, CME, is set to launch its futures product the following week. The addition of bitcoin futures by two respected exchanges marks another step towards establishing the digital currency as a legitimate asset class.

“While we launched [in the U.S.] just a week ago, bitFlyer has already seen strong interest from institutions looking to gain exposure to bitcoin. We’re glad to have expanded to the US at this time with so much interest due to the impending Bitcoin futures launches,” bitFlyer COO Bartek Ringwelski, said in an email. The Tokyo-based digital currency exchange is the largest in the world by trading volume and announced last week it received a “BitLicense” to operate in New York.

However, many remain critical of bitcoin. JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin a “fraud.” Digital currency investor and former Fortress hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz also said last week that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are “going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes.” Novogratz also predicted last week that bitcoin could reach $40,000 by the end of next year.

Bitcoin three-month performance

The bitcoin offshoot, bitcoin cash, traded 2.5 percent lower near $1,465, while ethereum traded 6 percent lower near $435, according to CoinMarketCap.

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