Bitcoin surges past $15000 because why not

A bitcoin sign

A bitcoin sign

Bitcoin surged past the $15,000 mark Thursday just 10 hours after topping $14,000, CNBC reported.

But critics say that the price run-up is a bubble that has been driven mostly by speculation, leaving bitcoin vulnerable to a sharp reversal, Reuters noted. That takes its rally this year past 1,500 percent.

What's further disturbing is how widely the prices are varying across exchanges, there doesn't seem to be a stable consensus on where the price is at.

Investors flocking to open new accounts or place orders Thursday left Coinbase, the largest U.S. exchange, warning of outages and slow transactions.

At its current rate, it may hit $16,000 before the end of the day.

"This is irrational exuberance", Royal Bank of Scotland Chairman Howard John Davies said in an interview on Bloomberg TV on Thursday.

The new bitcoin derivatives products are slated to begin trading this month and are expected to boost mainstream demand.

The slowdown on exchanges also highlighted the disparate pricing that can occur. While bitcoin prices on Coinbase's GDAX exchange approached almost $19,000 (!) this morning, others had the price sitting at thousands of dollars less.

The price of bitcoin was all over the place on Thursday, with numerous exchanges listing it at drastically different prices. The company had 13.3 million users as of November 26, up from 13 million on November 22 and 10.6 million two months ago. Those warnings were laid out in an open letter via the Futures Industry Association on Wednesday.

Investors continue to pile into Bitcoin ahead of the launch of futures contracts by CBOE at the weekend in the United States. Nasdaq is said to be planning to offer futures in 2018. For example, New York-based Gemini had temporary suspended both bitcoin and ether withdraws this morning since the odds of a transaction actually processing were so low. The addition of bitcoin futures by two respected exchanges marks another step towards establishing the digital currency as a legitimate asset class.

Lightning Network, as the technology is known, was conceived to move some transactions away from the blockchain, by allowing buyers and sellers to transact privately and later broadcast their activity to the public network.

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