Digital currency enthusiasts and outside observers alike have been intently focused on Bitcoin's volatile price activity over the course of the last several days, as the world's most well-known cryptocurrency soared to more than $18,000 before declining to around $15,000 earlier today.
According to the Financial Times, during the space of just 20 minutes, the Bitcoin price on the Coinbase exchange jumped to a high of US$19,340 before falling down to US$15,000.
In trading on the Coinbase exchange, the digital currency hit a high of $19,340 after soaring through $12,000 on just Tuesday night. The price on Coinbase is often at a premium over other exchanges. At the time of writing, bitcoin was trading at $17,299 on GDAX. That's a 225% rise over the first week in November, where it was only installed 177,000 times, according to Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower. Chicago-based Cboe Global Markets is planning to launch bitcoin futures on Sunday, while the world's largest futures exchange, CME, is set to launch its futures product the following week.
The cryptocurrency's wild ride is also boosting apps and services that enable people to buy and sell bitcoins. Volumes for rival ether were not in record territory, but still high at a little more than $2 billion.
Record volumes have been putting pressure on crypto exchanges, which lack the industrial infrastructure of traditional exchanges such as the NYSE.
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Thursday's increased trading activity placed a strain on Coinbase's systems, and forced the company to temporarily take its site down for maintenance.
The digital currency began the year below $1,000 and its gains have accelerated as investor interest grows.
The news of Coinbase success came as another Bitcoin mining firm suffered a major hack.
Futures could help dampen the coin's spine-tingling price swings, according to Craig Pirrong, a business professor at the University of Houston.