Bitcoin continued its meteoric rise on Thursday, passing $15,000 to hit a new record high after rising 20 percent in 24 hours. The cryptocurrency reached $12,000 for the first time Tuesday, and started the year under $1,000. It gained steadily then took off recently on the news that Chicago-based Cboe Global Markets plans to launch bitcoin futures on Sunday, to be followed the next week by the world's largest futures exchange, CME. The sale of bitcoin futures by two respected exchanges suggests the digital currency is gaining mainstream acceptance, although skeptics still warn it is a classic example of a bubble ready to burst.

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