Bitcoin climbed above $13,000 Wednesday afternoon after topping $12,000 Tuesday night, CNBC reported.
The digital currency's gains accelerated after crossing the psychologically key level. Bitcoin last traded 12.5 percent higher to a record high of $13,158.99, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin now has a market value of about $220 billion, putting it into the ranks of the 20 largest stocks in the S&P 500.
The latest swing higher came as bitcoin topped $12,000 Tuesday night in a rapid recovery from a 20 percent drop last week.
The digital currency began the year below $1,000 and its gains have accelerated as investor interest grows. Chicago-based Cboe Global Markets is planning to launch bitcoin futures on Sunday, while the world's largest futures exchange, CME, is set to launch its futures product the following week. The addition of bitcoin futures by two respected exchanges marks another step towards establishing the digital currency as a legitimate asset class.
"While we launched [in the U.S.] just a week ago, bitFlyer has already seen strong interest from institutions looking to gain exposure to bitcoin. We're glad to have expanded to the US at this time with so much interest due to the impending Bitcoin futures launches," bitFlyer COO Bartek Ringwelski, said in an email. The Tokyo-based digital currency exchange is the largest in the world by trading volume and announced last week it received a "BitLicense" to operate in New York.
However, many remain critical of bitcoin. JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin a "fraud." Digital currency investor and former Fortress hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz also said last week that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are "going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes." Novogratz also predicted last week that bitcoin could reach $40,000 by the end of next year.