Cryptocurrencies' Market Cap Hits Record $200B as Bitcoin Soars

Posted November 04, 2017

Bitcoin is surging on Thursday morning, shooting past $7,000 per coin on Thursday morning for the first time ever.

Bitcoin skyrocketed past $7,400 on Friday, hitting yet another record high.

"Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have made a decision to introduce a bitcoin futures contract", said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

The latest surge in bitcoin was driven by news this week that CME Group, the world's largest derivative exchange operator, would launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of the year, as well as speculation that Amazon could be set to accept the digital currency. The jump in price saw bitcoin rise 6 percent.

CME added its bitcoin futures contract would be cash-settled on the basis of the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), launched in November a year ago with London-based online trading platform Crypto Facilities. According to commentators, the product could bring more institutional investors into the market.

"This is bitcoin crossing the divide from the wild west of finance to the mainstream", Charles Hayter, CEO of cryptocurrency comparison website Crypto Compare, told CNBC in an email Thursday.

Bitcoin has seen eye-watering gains in recent months, having more than doubled in value in the past seven weeks alone.

"While it was easy for critics to label early adopters' enthusiasm as foolish, the adoption of bitcoin by institutions such as CME gives the cryptocurrency a seal of approval that will eradicate even the most well-reasoned criticism pundits may voice".