How big can this bubble get? Bitcoin has smashed through $7,000 for the first time

So hot right now.
So hot right now.
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
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The price of bitcoin broke through $7,000 for the first time in trading today, pushing the cryptocurrency’s gain so far this year to well over 600%. (At the time of writing, in fact, bitcoin is trading above $7,300, a gain of more than 8% on the day.)

The most recent explanation for the seemingly unstoppable bull run is that the world’s largest futures exchange said it will create bitcoin futures, which could entice Wall Street heavy hitters and eventually move the digital asset into mainstream institutional portfolios.

Or maybe people are just fearful that their neighbors are getting rich, and they’re not. Bitcoin is easier to trade than ever; you may have seen ads in the subway or on billboards offering can’t-miss opportunities to buy and sell the cryptocurrency.

While there are plenty of believers in the distributed-ledger technology upon which bitcoin is built, many financial professionals who lived through past market manias are fearful of what happens when people think that a bubble can inflate indefinitely.