By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
Shares of bitcoin-related companies rallied Monday, as the digital currency struck a fresh high and moved closer to $10,000, just days after taking out $9,000.
Bitcoin (COINDESK:BTCUSD) was last trading up 3% at $9,663.12, according to CoinDesk, adding to gains that have totaled almost 70% in the past month alone. Bitcoin has rocketed above $9,000 from $8,000 in just seven days, its fastest 1,000-point ascent so far, according to Coinbase, the biggest bitcoin exchange in the U.S.
Eric Ross, chief investment strategist at Cascend Securities, said demand for bitcoin is being boosted by growing interest in the plan to launch futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which are expected to start trading in December. “CME futures will quickly bring [exchange-traded funds] for bitcoin,” he said in a note to investors. “ETFs will bring a lot more capital to bitcoin.”
Coinbase reportedly added 100,000 accounts over the Thanksgiving weekend, said Ross. The exchange now has more than 13 million accounts, a 130% jump from the same time a year ago.
While the meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies has convinced many it is a speculative bubble, Ross said there is a critical misunderstanding of bitcoin in financial markets. “Bitcoin is not a random bubble: It was designed to be a repository for value,” he said. “Its utility is its ability to hold value by reducing supply, and to allow value to be held anonymously away from banks and countries. This is a real utility.”
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Among individual stocks, Marathon Patent Group shares (NAS:MARA) climbed almost 50% in early trade Monday. Marathon, an intellectual-property licensing and management company, has been viewed as a cryptocurrency play, since it acquired mining company Global Bit Ventures Inc. in early November.
“We believe the acquisition of Global Bit Ventures will take advantage of an ongoing revolution in digital transactions conducted on blockchains as we see increasing adoption and proliferation of blockchain protocols in our everyday lives,” Chief Executive Doug Croxall said when announcing the deal. Last week, the company reported results for its third quarter that showed a narrowing of its net and operating losses.
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Companies that have the word blockchain or other cryptocurrency-linked terms in their names have seen their stock prices soar, similar to the way the addition of “.com” to a corporate name guaranteed a boost during the internet boom two decades ago, as MarketWatch has reported.
Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTC:GBTC) , which invests in bitcoin and affords investors exposure to the currency without buying or safekeeping bitcoins, was up 24%, and has gained 912% in 2017, while the S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) has gained 16% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA) has gained 19%.
On-Line PLC , which is planning to change its name to On-Line Blockchain PLC at its next annual meeting, was up 32% and has gained 431% in 2017.
Global Blockchain Technologies Corp. , formerly Carrus Capital Corp., was up 10.4% and has gained 1,613% in 2017.
Hive Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (TSX:CA:HIVE) , formerly Leeta Gold Corp., was up 18%; it’s up 2,366% on the year. UBI Blockchain internet Ltd. (OTC:UBIA) was up 6%, for a 197.5% gain on the year
Elsewhere, Overstock.com Inc. (NAS:OSTK) , the first retailer to accept bitcoin as payment, was up 1.2%, and it’s up 262% in 2017.
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