Bitcoin rally continues as futures forecast even higher prices

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Bitcoin rally continues as futures forecast even higher prices – Dec. 11, 2017

The risks of bitcoin trading

The bitcoin rally continued Monday, and investors are betting it will go even higher.

Bitcoin (XBT) was trading at more than $16,000 early Monday morning, up about 8%. And bitcoin futures, which started trading Sunday on the CBOE, showed that investors are betting the cryptocurrency will continue to climb in the coming months.

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The January futures price was about $17,800, or about $1,500 above Monday’s spot price. The futures price for February and March were even higher, around $18,000 for each. As bullish as those prices are, they are down from Sunday’s price for February and March contracts, which had topped $19,000.

Related: I bought $250 in bitcoin. Here’s what I learned

Futures are contracts that let investors buy or sell something at a specific price in the future. These futures are unusual in that, unlike traditional commodities such as oil or agricultural products, bitcoins aren’t physical assets. And unlike traditional currencies, there isn’t a central bank that backs bitcoin. They are created on computers using complex algorithms and recorded in a digital ledger.

Offering futures contracts for bitcoin allows investors to speculate on the digital currency’s price without actually owning any bitcoin. It also gives investors who believe that the run-up in price has produced a bitcoin “bubble” a chance to place a bet that bitcoin will soon fall in value.

There have been a few sharp dips along the way, but bitcoin’s rise has been stunning, having doubled in price over the last three weeks. It is up more than 400% in the just the last two months, and up about 2,000% in the last year, according to CoinDesk. It had traded for less than $1 briefly in 2011.

CNNMoney (New York) First published December 11, 2017: 10:08 AM ET

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