Bitcoin closes in on $13,000 mark as prices continue to soar

Bitcoin is closing in on $13,000 (€11,000), in what is set to be another milestone in the cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise.

The price of Bitcoin pushed past $12,000 (€10,150) overnight, and was trading upwards of $12,700 (€10,750) by midday, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index, prompting further concerns over potentially volatile price movements.

A number of institutional investors say they are still avoiding Bitcoin, after seeing it rise around 1,100% since the start of the year.

Lilian Chovin, an investment strategist at Coutts, said Bitcoin has been "all over the place," adding that its sharp rise has "brought back memories of the dotcom bubble back at the turn of the century".

"Our view at Coutts is that, as an investment asset, electronic currencies like Bitcoin have nothing but sentiment backing them up, are vulnerable to government sanctions and lack the kind of data we look for to gauge value.

"We therefore have no current plans to include them in our investment strategy."

The Treasury has announced plans for closer scrutiny of the cryptocurrency as part of EU-wide plans that will require online platforms that trade in Bitcoin to carry out due diligence on customers and report suspicious transactions.

But that has not curbed excitement over its emerging investment opportunities.

US regulators have given the green light for three American exchanges to offer futures trading in the cryptocurrency, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), as well as the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE).

Nasdaq is also considering offering Bitcoin futures in early 2018.

UK app Revolut has also announced plans to start offering cryptocurrency trading this week.

It said customers will be able to buy and exchange for Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ether starting on Thursday.

Revolut’s chief platform engineer Lewis Tuff said: "To drive mass adoption of cryptocurrencies we believe the barrier to entry has to be reduced.

"With Revolut introducing cryptocurrencies into our platform we’re allowing all users to gain exposure to digital currencies in a simple, secure and seamless manner."

But experts say there is little reason behind Bitcoin’s latest price surge.

David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB, said: "There is no positive fundamentals to support the day’s 9% gain and it appears the bubble is growing at an increasing pace.

"Even the most ardent Bitcoin bulls would struggle to justify the rationale behind the latest gains which has seen price nearly double in the past month."

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