Investing.com - The price of the digital currency bitcoin rose above $15,000 for the first time on Thursday, extending its gains for the year after starting 2017 at around $1,000.
On the U.S.-based GDAX exchange, Bitcoin was at $15,245.00 by 05:25 AM ET (10:25 GMT), the highest level in its nine-year history.
Prices have been boosted after CBOE Global markets said it will launch trading in futures trading in the cryptocurrency from December 10 after receiving a green light from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) will begin initial listings of bitcoin futures contracts on December 18.
The move opens the door to more regulation but also more mainstream adoption, as bitcoin futures and other derivatives would make it easier to trade the new asset class.
Bitcoin’s price has risen dramatically in 2017. For the year, bitcoin is up around 1,500%, having started 2017 at $968.23.
Its breath-taking rise has prompted warnings of an increasingly dangerous speculative bubble and given rise to comparisons to the 17th century Dutch tulip mania and more recently the dotcom bubble.
Last week Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein claimed that Bitcoin was “a vehicle to perpetrate fraud” as the value of the cryptocurrency plunged 20% in less than 24 hours.
Blankfein became the latest boss of a major bank to criticize bitcoin, after JP Morgan’s chief executive Jamie Dimon described it as fraud that would ultimately blow up.
Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading, Bitcoin Cash was last at $1,241.00, while Bitcoin Gold was at $238.97.
Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin, was at $396.28.