As Bitcoin Soars, Prices Diverge Wildly Across Exchanges

Vyacheslav Prokofyev  TASS

The swings in price occurred as the trading community prepares for the virtual currency to start trading on two established USA exchanges.

On the CoinDesk exchange, Bitcoin jumped more than 25% on Thursday, hitting an intraday record of $16,569 per coin, just eight days after topping the $10,000 milestone. The best-known is Bitcoin, although there are now more than 1,000 in circulation, including Ethereum, Ripple and Dash.

Coinbase isn't alone in seeing bitcoin prices above $16,000. "But to think prices are at mania levels where this could suffer a serious crash here... is a bit ridiculous". "Now we need people profiting immensely all around us and making forecasts for $1 million, etc., for it to truly have reached a euphoric peak", Newton said.

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

The concerns about its volatility have led some Wall Street banks and trade groups to raise concerns about the potential implications of trading bitcoin.

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"Personally, I am a believer in how digital currency can play a role in our society... but for now, it seems like it's more driven by the hype of investing and getting a return rather than using it as a transaction currency".

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 (CME), from December 18. The futures are created to reflect the price of bitcoin without an investor having to physically hold the virtual currency, not unlike how oil, gold, copper or cocoa prices are determined by futures contracts.

A person familiar with the matter said JPMorgan Chase will not allow clients access to the futures on the first trading day, and will make an evaluation after that based on what it sees in the futures market.

The futures signal more mainstream acceptance of the currency, but also open up bitcoin to additional market forces.

From a currency associated with terrorism and illegal activities to developing into a "mass frenzy", Bitcoin's value has surpassed all expectations and many bears have turned into bulls now.

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