NEW YORK — The price of bitcoin swung wildly Thursday, rising to more than $19,000 only to fall sharply within minutes, as the frenzy surrounding the virtual currency escalated just days before it starts trading on a major U.S. exchange.
The frenzy even has parts of Wall Street concerned. A group of banks came out and complained that federal regulators approved bitcoin futures, which begin trading on Sunday, too quickly and without properly considering the inherent risks in the virtual currency.
At 1:05 p.m. EST, Bitcoin was valued at $16,825, according to Coinbase, after briefly surging above $19,000 Thursday morning. At the start of the year, one bitcoin was worth less than $1,000. Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange, at one point tweeted that record-high traffic had caused interruptions to its service.
The swings in price occurred just as the trading community prepares for bitcoin to start trading on two established U.S. exchanges. Futures for bitcoin will start trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday evening and on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange a week later.
The Futures Industry Association, which represents Wall Street’s biggest banks and clearing houses, sent a letter to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, saying that as the guarantors of customers trades, they should have been consulted before trading in bitcoin futures was approved. They expressed concern that the extreme volatility tied into bitcoin could leave banks exposed when the futures move too violently.
Bitcoin is the world’s most popular virtual currency. Such currencies are not tied to a bank or government and allow users to spend money anonymously. They are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they are traded.
A debate is raging on the merits of such currencies. Some say they serve merely to facilitate money laundering and illicit, anonymous payments. Others say they can be helpful methods of payment, such as in crisis situations where national currencies have collapsed.
Miners of bitcoins and other virtual currencies help keep the systems honest by having their computers keep a global running tally of transactions. That prevents cheaters from spending the same digital coin twice.
Online security is a vital concern for such dealings.
In Japan, following the failure of a bitcoin exchange called Mt. Gox, new laws were enacted to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Mt. Gox shut down in February 2014, saying it lost about 850,000 bitcoins, possibly to hackers.
Being an also-ran might be what’s best for the region, but housing and transportation issues remain.Continue reading »
The toll that the opioid epidemic is taking on the Massachusetts economy now has a cost in dollars: $2.7 billion a year in lost business productivity from employees who aren’t functioning at full capacity, and $5.9 billion in lost productivity from people who aren’t even in the workforce.Continue reading »
General Electric Co. surged as Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp accelerated plans to pare the company’s stake in Baker Hughes with a deal that would raise almost $4 billion at current prices.Continue reading »
When Amazon made its official selection for the locations of its second headquarters, it was hardly a surprise to anyone following the lengthy HQ2 saga. But there were still a few new tidbits.Continue reading »
At least for now, this deal could bring a measure of stability to athenahealth.Continue reading »
Crystal City, a clutch of ’80s-vintage office buildings just outside of Washington, D.C., feels like the polar opposite of a hip tech hub like Boston or San Francisco.Continue reading »
Boston may be the brains of General Electric’s global operation, but its campus in Crotonville, N.Y., is its heart.Continue reading »
Thomas Kennedy received $20.4 million in total compensation last year, a 49 percent jump from 2014.Continue reading »
Though it’s generally not legally required, employers almost always agree to reimburse work-related travel expenses. If they didn’t, it would be harder to get employees to travel.Continue reading »