Stock markets around the world have been on a tear this year, but their gains are paltry compared with bitcoin’s. The digital currency, which only rose above $8,000 about a week ago, has surged an incredible 860% since the start of the year.
Despite skepticism from some top finance executives about bitcoin’s rise, experts say the latest gains appear to have been fueled by expectations that big professional investors — such as hedge funds and asset managers — could soon pour money into the currency.
Even a small portion of the cash managed by major funds “would make a dramatic impact on the bitcoin market,” said Thomas Glucksmann, head of marketing at Hong Kong bitcoin exchange Gatecoin.
The cryptocurrency has been gaining more legitimacy in some parts of the financial industry.
From early next month, investors should be able to trade bitcoin futures via the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which is likely to help bolster the currency’s reputation among mainstream investors. Futures allow traders to bet on the future price of assets like currencies, metals and agricultural commodities…