(Dow Jones) The price of bitcoin surged above $12,000 early Wednesday morning, the latest milestone in the cryptocurrency's massive rise.
Bitcoin, which is up almost 1300% this year, was more than halfway toward eclipsing $13000 by late morning, a 7.7% increase on the day, according to the research website CoinDesk. The continued gains come just a week after bitcoin broke above $11,000 for the first time.
Bitcoin by now is gaining attention beyond a niche group of early supporters, with small-time investors now jumping into the fray as they seek to capture the returns of one of the year's best-performing assets.
Similar to tulip mania?
Three exchanges are now set to offer futures contracts on bitcoin, another step toward building a traditional market around the stateless digital currency.
The gains have also sparked growing concerns that the asset is turning into a speculative bubble that will eventually collapse in dramatic fashion.
For all the interest in bitcoin as an investment, few actually use it as a currency to buy and sell goods. Some have compared bitcoin's rise to the Dutch tulip mania that took hold in the 1600s.