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Bitcoin breaches $13,000 as futures move closer to reality

Initial coin offerings, where programmers raise money by creating and selling their own virtual currency, have come out of nowhere in 2017 to become the talk of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. (Gluekit/copyright 2017 The New York Times)

Bitcoin topped $13,000 for the first time, pushing this week's gains to more than 30 percent amid speculation that the use of futures will help make digital currencies a legitimate asset class for mainstream investors.

The largest cryptocurrency by market value has soared from less than $1,000 at the start of the year as optimism climbs for the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain that is at the heart of bitcoin. The price surge has been accompanied by a growing chorus of warnings that the speculative frenzy is an asset bubble poised to burst.

Cboe Global Markets Inc. has said it will start trading bitcoin futures on Dec. 10, while CME Group Inc.'s contracts are set to debut on Dec. 18. Nasdaq Inc. is planning to offer futures in 2018, according to a person familiar with the matter. Cantor Fitzgerald LP's Cantor Exchange is creating a bitcoin derivative, and startup LedgerX already offers options.

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