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Photo via Wit Olszewski/Shutterstock (Licensed)
A landmark day few predicted.
Bitcoin just sprinted through the finish line in its race to $10,000 and shows no signs of slowing down. The leading cryptocurrency flirted with the milestone all day before hitting it this afternoon, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
If you’re not familiar, Bitcoin is a decentralized form of digital money that isn’t regulated by any banks or government. It uses cryptography techniques to ensure secure transactions and control the creation of new units. It reached its highest point at $10,113 on Tuesday as it continues its exponential growth, meaning a single Bitcoin unit is now worth a five-figure dollar amount.
The incredible rise comes despite fears that government regulation will send the currency crashing. Bitcoin has had a particularly difficult year in China, where authorities told cryptocurrency exchanges to shut down. That came days after China said initial coin offerings (ICO), or digital token sales, were illegal and asked the popular cryptocurrency to end all fundraising activity.
But those were small bumps in a road that seems to have no end. Bitcoin’s growth has been unprecedented. In May of this year, Bitcoin slammed through $2,000 for the first time in history, a mark some analysts believed would be the tipping point before the cryptocurrency bubble burst. Now, less than seven months later, Bitcoin sits at five times that value, 10 times its worth at the beginning of the year.
One reason for its explosive growth is that the world’s largest derivatives marketplace operator, CME Group, said it would start offering Bitcoin futures in response to client demand by the fourth quarter this year. Analysts think the move could bring wealthy mainstream institutions on board.
“Futures from an incumbent exchange bring bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into the regulatory fold,” Charles Hayter, CEO of Crypto Compare, told CNBC. “This allows more complex financial products to be created and will eventually open the doors to institutional money.”
This isn’t to say you should invest in Bitcoin today as there are still huge risks to consider. But if you were an early adopter, go ahead and make a toast to Bitcoin tonight—and cross your fingers that the bubble holds out for another day.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.