Source: fortune.com

Bitcoin broke through the $15,000 barrier on Thursday morning as it continued what has been a remarkable run even by the cryptocurrency’s usual bubblelicious standards.


At the time of writing, shortly before 5.30 am ET, the price of one bitcoin was listed on Google’s bitcoin tracker as $15,130, and on CoinMarketCap as $15,316, with a total market capitalization of $256 billion. Coindesk had it at a slightly more modest $14,800.


A reminder: a bitcoin was worth $10,000 little more than a week ago, and it only passed the $13,000 mark on Wednesday. It started the year with a value of around $1,000, so the virtual currency’s trajectory is curving up sharply.


Little wonder that economists are furiously sounding the alarm about risks to investors.


The reasons for the frenzy are likely twofold: people want to hop on board the bitcoin train in case it keeps going “to the moon,” and trading is about to begin in bitcoin futures, which many take as a legitimization of the cryptocurrency.


The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said last week that it would permit the trading of bitcoin derivatives on the CME Group and CBOE Global Markets exchanges. This means investors will be able to trade agreements for the sale of bitcoins at a pre-agreed rate, at a future date.


However, with little intrinsic value underpinning the asset, many people are warning that introduction of bitcoin futures could spur a wider crash if and when the bubble bursts.


The Steam gaming network stopped supporting bitcoin as a payment method on Wednesday, due to its extreme volatility and the fact that transactions on the network now come with massive fees.


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