Bitcoin surged to a record high, flirting with the $16, 000 mark on Thursday after rallying around 60 percent over one week and intensifying the debate about whether the digital currency is an asset bubble on the verge of bursting.
The biggest cryptocurrency exchange had difficulty coping with the record traffic as the price jumped, with an upcoming launch of the first bitcoin contract stoking the interest of investors.
Supporters of bitcoin argue it is a good medium of exchange and a way to store value, much like a precious metal. They also sa that it is preferable than traditional currencies as it is not under central bank regulation.
Bitcoin supply will be eventually limited at 21 million, and around 16.7 million are already in circulation.
However, critics saw that the upward march of the value of bitcoin is a bubble that has been fueled mostly by speculation, leaving the cryptocurrency vulnerable to a sharp correction. JPMorgan Chase -amp; Co. CEO Jamie Dimon has dubbed bitcoin a "fraud" in September.
So far this year, the world"s biggest currency has risen fifteen-fold in value. The latest gain brought its market cap to almost $280 billion, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.
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