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December 7, 2017
ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Bitcoin continued its meteoric rise on Thursday, passing $15,000 to hit a new record high after rising 20 percent in 24 hours. The cryptocurrency reached $12,000 for the first time Tuesday, and started the year under $1,000. It gained steadily then took off recently on the news that Chicago-based Cboe Global Markets plans to launch bitcoin futures on Sunday, to be followed the next week by the world's largest futures exchange, CME. The sale of bitcoin futures by two respected exchanges suggests the digital currency is gaining mainstream acceptance, although skeptics still warn it is a classic example of a bubble ready to burst. Harold Maass

December 6, 2017
George Frey/Getty Images

Bitcoin surged to another record high on Wednesday, reaching the $12,000 milestone for the first time as runaway demand for the cryptocurrency continued. Bitcoin, which started the year below $1,000, has been lifted this week by Friday's announcement by federal regulators that they would let CME Group Inc and CBOE Global Markets list bitcoin futures contracts. The move fueled optimism among investors about broader mainstream use of cryptocurrencies despite warnings by some financial experts that their meteoric rise signals a bubble that could soon burst. Harold Maass