Bitcoin Extends Record Gains as Stocks Falter

Bitcoin broke the $19,000 for the first time during Wednesday’s Asian trading session, smashing that barrier and continuing its upward climb to trade at $19,367.61 as of 2:16 p.m. HK/SIN, according to Coinbase. At its current price level, bitcoin now has a market value of nearly $203 billion, more than double the market cap of Goldman Sachs.

Bitcoin’s price increase comes despite repeated warnings from professional traders, many of whom have publicly denounced cryptocurrencies as dangerous and speculative. In recent weeks many traders have also warned that bitcoin is in a bubble that is doomed to burst at any moment, though the strong rally lends significant questions to these claims.

With a price below $1000 at the start of 2017 and more than a ten-fold increase in value since then, bitcoins historic gains have global financial regulators looking closely at the cryptocurrency and what potential problems may arise. Yet, despite the criticisms and concerns, bitcoin shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Global Stock Markets Continue to Struggle

The dollar was also lower on Wednesday against its primary trading partners. The euro gained 0.10 percent to trade at $1.1836 while the dollar eased 0.36 percent against the yen to trade at 112.17. The dollar also declined against the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar.

Asian stocks struggled again on Wednesday after a rough session the day before, once again pressured by difficulties on Wall Street. The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all closed lower on Wednesday, and Asian stock markets were broadly lower on the heels of this downtrend. Australia’s ASX 200 declined 0.44 percent while the Shanghai Composite was down 1.32 percent in the early afternoon. South Korea’s Kospi eased 1.24 percent as well. The losses on Wall Street were due in part to continued declines in the technology sector as well as profit-taking as traders rushed to close the year with profits in their pockets.

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