Bitcoin surges above $15000 to new high

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong

Bitcoin surges above $15000 to new high

Bitcoin soared from $16,000 a coin on Coinbase's GDAX exchange to more than $19,500 in less than three hours Thursday.

The fact that trading could be unavailable to some users is also a big deal as the price of bitcoin has been fluctuating significantly by the hour this week. At 4:08 p.m. NY time, the cryptocurrency traded at $16,362.99.

That was a almost 18% decline from earlier high's on the day of $17,153.94, according to the site which averages prices from major exchanges.

Bitcoin's remarkable gains continue with few signs of fatigue as the world's first cryptocurrency broke new ground to soar past a dizzying $15,000 per coin on prominent US-based exchange Coinbase.

"It goes without saying that prices have reached a level where sentiment is exhibiting short-term euphoria", said Mark Newton, managing member at Newton Advisors, in a note to clients. "But to think prices are at mania levels where this could suffer a serious crash here... is a bit ridiculous".

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Needless to say, people want in on the action. For the year, Bitcoin is up more than 1,600%.

As of Friday morning, a single bitcoin had increased in value by more than $5,000 since Monday, a jump of more than 50 percent, according to Coindesk. Except that part when the price of digital currencies reaches so high that it creates extreme volatility and puts stress on the bitcoin broker's system, which is what happened Thursday.

The digital currency began the year below $1,000 and its gains have accelerated as investor interest grows.

At the time of writing Bitcoin is fetching US$16,875 according to Coinbase. 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. Whether its app remains as popular as bitcoin itself will likely depend on whether bitcoin ends up being as valuable as it promises, or a get-rick-quick scheme that's full of nothing but hype. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin a "fraud".

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