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Up, up and away: Bitcoin sails past $15,000

Bitcoin flew past the $15,000 mark this morning just a day a..

Bitcoin flew past the $15,000 mark this morning just a day after it passed $12,000 for the first time.

The cryptocurrency, which has staged a stunning rise from near-anonymity at the beginning of the year when its price was below $1,000, was up 9.66 per cent at $15,033.16 at the time of writing, according to Coindesk's aggregate index.

"The rise of bitcoin appears to be unstoppable. Bitcoin bulls have driven the virtual currency beyond $14,500 for the first time," said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index.

"Bitcoin has jumped 20 per cent over the last 24 hours with buyers of the virtual currency now eyeing up $20,000. Given the fact that both the Cboe and the CME exchanges will begin offering bitcoin futures this month, perhaps the prediction of $20,000 is not that far off? However, the start of futures trading also means the start of short trades on the bitcoin, which could increase volatility further."

Read more: Fear of a bitcoin bubble is not the only trouble

The surge in price has led some analysts to label it a bubble, though there are questions around just when it might pop.

The cryptocurrency is famed for its volatility: yesterday, it dropped by about $500 in three minutes before jumping back up to where it started again.

However, even JP Morgan, whose boss called bitcoin a fraud, changed its tune on the digital currency this week with analysts saying the launch of bitcoin futures contracts by established exchanges could transform cryptocurrencies into an emerging asset class.

Cboe Global Markets will launch bitcoin futures contracts next week while CME Group's will go live on 18 December.

But with more attention from investors comes a deeper focus from regulators.

The Treasury has set out regulatory plans for bitcoin in a bid to halt suspicious activity from taking place through the cryptocurrency's anonymous platform.

Read more: Bitcoin mining explained: How does it work and what needs to be fixed?

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