Bitcoin surges, as investors hopeful of it breaking $20,000 ceiling

NEW YORK: Virtual currency bitcoin hit another all-time peak on Tuesday, two days after the launch of the first ever bitcoin futures on a U.S. exchange and ahead of the start of another futures contract next week, as investors grew optimistic that the $20,000-mark is within reach.

On Sunday, Chicago-based derivatives exchange Cboe Global Markets launched bitcoin futures, enabling investors to get exposure to the currency via a large, regulated exchange.

The CME Group is expected to launch its futures contract on Dec. 17.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, was quoted at $17,310 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up 5.1 percent on the day. Earlier on Tuesday bitcoin hit a record high of $17,428.42, registering a roughly 20-fold increase in its price for the year as it drew in millions of new investors.

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The technical analysis suggests an extension of a wave, which could mean that bitcoin would easily surge above the psychologically important level of $20,000, according to the Reuters analysis.

But as bitcoin set a new record, digital currency exchange operators Coinbase and Bitfinex reported problems with service through their websites on Tuesday, frustrating traders seeking to cash in on the latest surge in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The newly launched one-month bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were slightly tepid, with prices generally steady and volumes about a third of those seen on Monday. Bitcoin futures maturing in January XBTF8 were at $18,450, with just 1,416 contracts traded as of late afternoon in New York, compared with 3,956 contracts on the first day.

A total of $26.4 million was notionally traded so far on Tuesday, compared with around $73 million on Monday.

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