Bitcoin tops $15,000, 12 hours after clearing $14,000

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LONDON — Bitcoin's incredible rise continues, with the digital currency climbing above $15,000 for the first time on Thursday morning in London.

Bitcoin hit $15,000 at around 10.50 a.m. GMT (5.50 a.m. ET). The passing of the symbolic level comes around 12 hours after bitcoin cleared $14,000 for the first time. Bitcoin has now risen by over $3,000 over the last 36 hours and has gained well over 1,000% across 2017.

The incredible rise means the total value of the entire cryptocurrency market has now passed $400 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.com.& The market only surpassed $300 billion 10 days ago.& Bitcoin represents 63% of the value of the entire market, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

The current bull run began in earnest at the end of October when CME Group, the world's biggest exchange operator, announced plans to launch bitcoin futures contracts that will give institutional investors exposure to the new asset class. Rival CBOE is beating CME Group to the punch, launching its future contracts on Monday.

Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir Howard Davies said on Bloomberg TV on Thursday he is concerned bitcoin is "a& frothy investment bubble."

"All the authorities can do is put up the sign from Dante’s Inferno - ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’," Davies said according to the Guardian, which reported the comments. "That’s what’s needed, and it need to come from the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England at the same time."

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