Bitcoin has gone and done it again. A mere blink of the eyes and its price has risen to a new historic high of over $15,000, pushing its market cap to $260 billion.
Such a rise in value has seen the digital currency extend its advance in December by over 50 percent. According to CoinMarketCap, bitcoin rose to a high of $15,549 today. Only yesterday, it was reported to have scaled to $13,000.
Several factors are helping to boost bitcoin’s value up, one of which is the upcoming launch of the bitcoin futures contracts from Chicago-based exchanges Cboe Global Markets and the CME Group later this month.
After receiving approval from the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) last week, the futures contracts will enable investors to trade the currency via a regulated market. Cboe has said that it will begin trading on the 10th December while CME is expected to launch on the 18th. The Nasdaq has also stated that it will be launching its own bitcoin futures contracts in the first half of 2018. Whereas, the Tokyo Financial Exchange is also considering the launch of its own.
The cryptocurrency has also seen its price rise due to the successful test of the Lightning Network, which is promising to provide a new way to pay with the digital currency. According to a report from Bloomberg, the technology would shift some transactions away from the distributed ledger by permitting buyers and sellers to transact privately, with them broadcasting their activity to the public network. It’s also hoped that it will ease congestion issues with bitcoin, which is an on-going problem that the cryptocurrency faces.
Elizabeth Stark, head of Lightning Labs, said:
We had done some tests before on the main net, but this was the first payment on the bitcoin blockchain across implementations. The stakes are quite a bit higher when it comes to releasing for the main bitcoin network.
News of this saw bitcoin cash’s price drop by 7.35 percent in 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap, pushing its value down to $1,364. The third-placed digital currency is a rival of bitcoin that its proponents state offers a solution to the number one cryptocurrency’s scaling issues.
However, while the digital currency is experiencing a surge in value many naysayers are claiming that it’s in a bubble that is waiting to burst. Earlier this week, Stephen Roach, a Yale University senior fellow and the former Asia chairman and chief economist at Morgan Stanley, argued that the cryptocurrency was a ‘dangerous speculative bubble.’
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