Business

Bitcoin soars to near US$10,000, up tenfold since start of year

LONDON Bitcoin's vertiginous ascent showed no signs of stopping yesterday, with the cryptocurrency soaring to another record high just a few per cent away from US$10,000 (S$13,400) after gaining more than a fifth in value over the past three days alone.

The digital currency has seen a tenfold increase in its value since the start of the year and has more than doubled in value since the beginning of October, Reuters reported.

It surged 4.5 per cent on the day yesterday to trade at US$9,687 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

Bitcoin's price has been helped in recent months by the announcement that the world's biggest derivatives exchange operator CME Group would start offering bitcoin futures.

The company said last week the futures would launch by the end of the year though no precise date had been set.

The price of the largest cryptocurrency by market value is soaring as it gains greater mainstream attention despite warnings of a bubble in what not everyone agrees is an asset.

"$10k is on the cards and bitcoin seems to be straining at the leash to reach it," Mr Charles Hayter, founder of cryptocurrency data analysis website Cryptocompare, told Reuters.

"Promises of bitcoin futures opening the door to institutional money are supercharging the price."

Bitcoin's surge in value is forcing Wall Street banks to balance clients' interest in speculating on the cryptocurrency with executives' scepticism about its future, Bloomberg reported.

JPMorgan Chase chief executive officer Jamie Dimon has been one of bitcoin's biggest detractors, calling it a fraud while his finance chief Marianne Lake has struck a more measured tone. The firm is "open minded" to the potential uses for digital currencies so long as they are well regulated, she said.

The total market cap of digital currencies now sits north of US$300 billion.

BUSINESS & FINANCE