Bitcoin’s recent price increases continued unabated on Wednesday, as the world’s most well-known digital currency roared to new highs above $14,000. In the last twenty-four hours alone, Bitcoin has repeatedly set new record highs, breaking through the $12K, $13K, and $14K price barriers. The gains increased Bitcoin’s total market capitalization to more than $246 billion.
The latest buying spree, which defies chatter about a bubble ready to pop, appears to have driven by a recent frenzy of interest among South Korean speculators and news that bitcoin derivatives will be sold in the U.S. by next week.
Over the next several weeks, the Chicago Board Options Exchange and Chicago Mercantile Exchange will each roll out Bitcoin futures trading for investors – and along with it, the prospect of wider mainstream acceptance and legitimacy.
Bitcoin began 2017 at less than $1,000 per token, but it has been on an absolute tear in recent months: It crossed $5,000 in October and touched above $11,000 for the first time less than two months later, according to CoinDesk data.
For one, Stephen Roach, Yale University senior fellow and the former Asia chairman and chief economist at investment bank Morgan Stanley, told CNBC on Tuesday that he was deeply skeptical of investing in bitcoin.
"This is a toxic concept for investors," said Roach, who has been described by Yale as one of Wall Street's most influential economists. "This is a dangerous speculative bubble by any shadow or stretch of the imagination."
Not everyone, of course, is convinced that the bitcoin gains are here to stay. The latest voices to pour cold water on bitcoin come from Scandinavia, where the CEO of Nordea Bank AB called it a “joke” while the head of Denmark’s largest pension fund said the currency is “something we basically don’t feel comfortable with.”
Those voices, and those of others like long time bitcoin skeptic Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, have so far done little to quell investor enthusiasm for the world’s most famous crypto-currency especially in Asia. As Bloomberg reports, South Koreans are so infatuated with bitcoin that they regularly pay premiums to get hold of it.
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