Bitcoin zoomed above $12,000

Bitcoin can’t stop breaking records right now.

The virtual currency leaped above $12,000 for the first time on Wednesday, taking its spectacular gains since the start of this year to over 1,100%.
Bitcoin has crashed through a series of milestones in recent weeks despite warnings of a potential bubble. After starting the year below $1,000, it hit $8,000 for the first time in early November and topped $11,000 just last week.

Much of the digital currency’s stunning ascent has been driven by the expectation that big, professional investors are set to start trading it. It’s also been propelled by mom and pop investors who don’t want to miss out on its meteoric rise.

Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies, virtual “coins” that are “mined” by computers using complex algorithms.

Its recent rise has been far from smooth. After powering past $11,000 last week, it plunged by more than $2,000, providing a stark reminder of its extreme volatility.
Related: Can anything stop bitcoin?

But cryptocurrency industry insiders are unfazed. They predict bitcoin will soar far higher in the coming months.

Arthur Hayes, CEO of Hong Kong’s Bitmex, an exchange for trading financial instruments based on bitcoin, told CNNMoney last week that he thinks it could hit $50,000 next year.
Octagon’s Chapman is willing to go even further. He believes bitcoin could reach $100,000 before 2018 is out despite a growing number of rival cryptocurrencies that could vie for investors’ attention.

Bitcoin is “the most battle hardened and proven cryptocurrency right now,” he said. “For now, it’s unsurpassable.”

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