While you were sleeping, the price of a single bitcoin set another record.

The cryptocurrency’s price, which has appreciated by more than 1,000 percent since the start of 2017, crossed the $12,000 mark last night, reaching a high of $12,795 at 11:02 UTC.

At 13:53 UTC, the price of a single bitcoin was $12,670.67, an increase of 8.33% in the last 24 hours. (See also: If You Had Purchased $100 Of Bitcoin In 2011.) 

Among the top 10 most-traded cryptocurrencies in the world, IOTA and Monero exchanged places but still continued their upward trajectory. IOTA, a cryptocurrency designed for Internet of Things (IoT) transactions, was trading at $4.73. That's up 54.75% in the last 24 hours at 14:04 UTC.

Monero is a privacy-focused cryptocurrency that was recently endorsed by anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee. It was trading at $307.57, an increase of 29.49% in the last 24 hours. (See also: 3 Obscure Cryptocurrencies To Watch.)  

The remaining cryptocurrencies in the top 10 most-traded list were on a downward slide, however. Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum, which had both registered increases, slid by 5.54% and 3.70%, respectively. On an overall basis, the market valuation for cryptocurrencies was $377.2 billion.

A Tale Of Two Continents

Bitcoin seems to be on track for $13,000 based on its rapid price movements and the surfeit of news regarding it.

The Tokyo Financial Exchange Inc. is considering offering bitcoin futures trading services to clients. The financial institution counts some of the biggest names in investment banking, such as JPMorgan Inc. (JPM) and Barclays PLC, among its clients. The company’s chief executive officer, Shozo Ohta, told journalists recently that it is waiting for passage of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act to “list futures as quickly as possible.”

The Tokyo Financial Exchange plans to launch a working group to study bitcoin’s impact on Japanese society in early 2018. Japan is the biggest market for cryptocurrencies and has taken the lead in legitimizing them in mainstream society. Other countries in Asia, such as South Korea and China, have also become important centers for bitcoin trading and mining.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Jehan Wu, co-founder of Hong Kong-based Kenetic Capital, said Asia is more “nimble” compared to the West in adopting digital currencies.

“We will see the first state-backed cryptocurrency in 2018, and I bet you that it will come from Asia,” Wu said, while predicting a price target of $50,000 for bitcoin by the end of 2018. 

Western markets, however, are still debating bitcoin’s utility within the finance ecosystem. Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University and former chief economist at Morgan Stanley, said the cryptocurrency is a “toxic concept for investors” because its chart has a vertical pattern. “This is a dangerous speculative bubble by any shadow or stretch of the imagination,” Roach said in a CNBC interview.

But Jeff Sprecher, chief executive officer of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. – which owns the New York Stock Exchange – has a different assessment.  At a Goldman Sachs conference yesterday, Sprecher said the exchange might be “stupid” for not being the first to offer bitcoin futures to its clients.

Two exchanges in Chicago – the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board Options Exchange – are set to offer bitcoin futures trading to clients later this month.

Sprecher hedged his comments by saying that he did not know what to make of cryptocurrencies and that it “unwise” to base the price of a futures product on bitcoin exchange indexes when so little is known about how they function.

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