Bitcoin surges above US$16000 as bubble fears grow

Bitcoin surges above US$16000 as bubble fears grow

The landmark happened on the Coinbase exchange at 10 a.m. London time on Thursday, and it traded as high as $15,200 on that platform.

Additional data from CoinMarketCap highlights the price disparities, though it seems that a number of the top-10 exchanges are seeing prices below $16,000, including Bitstamp, Gemini and HitBTC.

ASX, the main exchange operator for equities and derivatives in Australia, on Thursday said it will start using blockchain, the technology that underlies bitcoin, to process equity transactions. At 4:08 p.m. NY time, the cryptocurrency traded at $16,362.99. "But to think prices are at mania levels where this could suffer a serious crash here... is a bit ridiculous".

Despite its wild ride, bitcoin now has a market value of more than $270 billion, meaning it would rank among the 20 largest stocks in the S&P 500.

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

Between 5 and 6 a.m.

Cboe Global Markets Inc. has said it will start trading bitcoin futures on December 10, while CME Group Inc's contracts are set to debut on December 18. The digital currency also got a boost from a successful test of a technology that will attempt to ease congestion in purchases of the digital currency.

At the time of writing Bitcoin is fetching US$16,875 according to Coinbase.

The exchange was down for about an hour on Friday, two days after a major system outage kept many users from accessing their bitcoin wallets. The Tokyo-based digital currency exchange is the largest in the world by trading volume and announced last week it received a "BitLicense" to operate in NY. JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin a "fraud". Novogratz also predicted last week that bitcoin could reach $40,000 by the end of next year.