Bitcoin swings to a fresh record high nearing $12,000

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Is Booming
Bitcoin first rose above $11,000 last week (Source: Getty)

Bitcoin set a fresh high of more than $11,800 last night after the President of Venezuela announced plans to launch an oil-backed cryptocurrency called the petro.

Nicolas Maduro's cryptocurrency plans included few specifics, but would aim to overcome US-led financial sanctions. "The 21st century has arrived," he said.

Bitcoin's price rose to more than $11,800 before a steep, $1,000 drop took it back to around $10,600, according to Coindesk's aggregate index. At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency was down 0.86 per cent at $11,084.28.

Venezuelan opposition leaders yesterday threw doubt over the ambitious plans to create a cryptocurrency at a time when the country's currency, the bolivar, is in freefall, and basic needs like food and medicine are going unmet.

Bitcoin first rocketed past $11,000 last week, but its typical volatility has caused it to swing as low as $9,000 on some exchanges.

Despite the wild rollercoaster ride that is investing in bitcoin, over the weekend it emerged the Winklevoss twins had become the first official bitcoin billionaires.

Tyler and Cameron Winnklevoss, who famously lost a case against Mark Zuckerberg for control over Facebook, made an $11m (£8m) investment in the cryptocurrency four years ago.

Bitcoin was boosted last week by the US derivatives regulator's decision to give exchanges the green light to launch bitcoin futures contracts.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was satisfied by CME Group and Cboe Global Markets' agreement to put "significant enhancements" in place to protect customers.

However, it warned investors to be aware of the "potentially high level of volatility and risk" in trading bitcoin.

Cboe today announced it would offer trading in bitcoin from 5pm on 10 December, while CME has previously said trading will begin on 18 December.

Regulators are working to catch up with bitcoin following its recent boom in popularity.

The Treasury has set out regulatory plans for bitcoin in a bid to halt suspicious activity from taking place through the cryptocurrency's anonymous platform.

Read more: Bitcoin futures to launch this month as US regulators give the green light

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