Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Bitcoin tops record $19000, then plunges in wild 2-day ride

Alexander Demianchuk  TASS Alexander Demianchuk TASS
Heather Davidson | 10 December, 2017, 04:53

Bitcoin soared above $US19,500 a coin on Coinbase's GDAX exchange on Thursday at about 11:30 a.m. ET, three hours after it blew past $US16,000.

The influx of new users may be one reason that Coinbase has had trouble keeping its service working properly over the past few days - it could simply be deluged by new users. At 4:08 p.m. NY time, the cryptocurrency traded at $16,362.99. Due to the incredible demand and wild swings in its price, prices for Bitcoin diverged significantly on its biggest exchanges, exposing its fragile trading infrastructure.

"It goes without saying that prices have reached a level where sentiment is exhibiting short-term euphoria", said Mark Newton, managing member at Newton Advisors, in a note to clients. Bitcoin now has a market value of more than $256 billion, CNBC reported.

Between 5 and 6 a.m. 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. In South Korea, ordinary people are pouring their life savings into bitcoins and other digital currencies.

Armstrong warned in his post on Thursday that the increased interest in cryptocurrencies, which was punctuated by a stunning bitcoin rally earlier this week, has led to "extreme volatility and stress on our systems". Bitcoin has yet to crack the $17,000 barrier, let alone the price Coinbase charged users to buy the cryptocurrency. Whether its app remains as popular as bitcoin itself will likely depend on whether bitcoin ends up being as valuable as it promises, or a get-rick-quick scheme that's full of nothing but hype. JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin a "fraud".

Coinbase isn't the only cryptocurrency to have collapsed under pressure at the last minute.

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