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‘No way to properly’ short bitcoin bubble, expert warns

Bitcoin’s value rose to more than $17,000 before dipping. (Reuters)
LONDON: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, an academic and expert on the derivatives market, has tweeted a warning about using future contracts to hedge the rising price of bitcoin.
In a Tweet dated Dec. 9, he said: “… there is NO way to properly short the bitcoin ‘bubble’.”
His tweet went out just before the virtual currency began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) on Sunday night, a move which will allow investors to bet on the direction of bitcoin ­prices.
“Any strategy that doesn’t entail options is nonergodic (subjected to blowup). Just as one couldn’t rule out 5K, then 10K, one can’t rule out 100K,” Taleb said within the same tweet. The bitcoin securities will track the price of virtual currency as quoted on Gemini, a large bitcoin exchange.
Taleb has around 228,000 followers, and is known for predicting Black Swan events, including forecasting the 2008 crisis and the outcome of the 2016 US presidential ­election.
In a later tweet, he wrote: “Note that bitcoin has a limited number of natural sellers. The entire concept is very concave supply (it costs more and more to extract). The number of producers shrinks with time.”
Following the launch on the CBOE, bitcoin is expected to be listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by the end of the month.
The listing of bitcoin on exchanges is seen by some as an attempt to legitimize the cryptocurrency, as well as make it easier for people active in conventional investment banking to buy the asset.
In the run-up to the launch, bitcoin’s value rose to more than $17,000 before dipping.
The opening price for the bitcoin futures was $15,000, according the CBOE statement. Over the past five years, the total value of all outstanding bitcoin has grown from less than $1 billion to more than $262 billion as of Dec. 8, according to the statement.
The total value of all cryptocurrency tokens stands at approximately $423.7 billion, the statement said.
Bitcoin has gained in popularity in recent years as a currency that is not tied to a bank or government, enabling people to spend money anonymously.

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