Fri, Dec 08, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Bitcoin charges past US$15,000

PENDING BUBBLE?Bitcoin’s dramatic ascent prompted analyst Shane Chanel to forecast ‘some sort of correction’ while strategist Chris Weston predicted ‘downside moves’

AFP, LONDON and SINGAPORE

A man walks past a bitcoin ATM in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Bitcoin yesterday ploughed past $US15,000 to a fresh record, triggering a warning the cryptocurrency was “like a charging train with no brakes” and prompting fresh concern about its looming launch on mainstream markets.

It struck a new high of US$15,075 in European trading hours, according to Bloomberg News.

The rally came just a day after the virtual currency, which has been used to buy everything from an ice cream to a pint of beer, hit the US$12,000 mark for the first time.

Bitcoin — which came into being in 2009 as a bit of encrypted software and has no central bank backing it — has risen from this year’s low of US$752 in the middle of January, and surged dramatically in the past month.

The increased interest has been driven by growing acceptance among traditional investors of an innovation once considered the preserve of computer nerds and financial experts.

US regulators last week cleared the way for bitcoin futures to trade on major exchanges, including the world’s biggest futures center, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

However, some, including the US Federal Reserve, have warned against dabbling in bitcoin as it could threaten financial stability, and fears of a bubble have increased as the price has soared.

“Bitcoin now seems like a charging train with no brakes,” said Shane Chanel, from Sydney-based ASR Wealth Advisers. “There is an unfathomable amount of new participants piling into the cryptocurrency market.”

“Once the hype slows down, we will most certainly see some sort of correction,” he said.

IG chief market strategist Chris Weston also predicted “downside moves” in future.

“When the price does turn and there is confusion, even panic ... then watch the short sellers come out in droves,” he said.

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