CryptoWatch: Crypto Today: Investor makes derivatives bet that bitcoin will hit $50,000 in 2018

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This column provides a daily update on key moves in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as well as the latest news and developments in the nascent and controversial sector.

Betting on $50,000:

Ari Paul, the CIO at Blocktower Capital, told CNBC on Tuesday that he made a wager that bitcoin’s value will hit $50,000 at some point next year. He purchased options on LedgerX that will give him the right but not the obligation to purchase bitcoins at that lofty price, which could be significant if the digital asset rockets above that level. If the asset remains below $50,000 by Dec. 28, 2018 the options will expire, worthless. He told CNBC the purchase was one way of reducing his direct exposure to bitcoin. According to The Wall Street Journal, the options bet is among the first of its kind in bitcoin at LedgerX, which launched in July to provide investors ways to make options and derivatives bets pegged to bitcoin.

Bitcoin bull attempts to rally crypto fans:

John McAfee urged bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.78%  investors not to lose faith as the cryptocurrency saw its value tumble by nearly 50% over the weekend. The cybersecurity entrepreneur McAfee believes a single bitcoin will be worth $1 million by 2020.

Ex-Goldman pro puts launch of cryptocurrency hedge fund on hold

Mike Novogratz said he won’t kick off a cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund amid a recent bout of choppiness that saw bitcoin down nearly 50% since its peak near $20,000 on Dec. 17.

Read: Why a dot-com-style collapse in bitcoin won’t kill blockchain

Check out: 7 cryptocurrencies to watch in 2018 if you’re on the hunt for the next bitcoin

Company’s stock surges after announcing ‘blockchain’ news

In a growing trend, shares of India Globalization Capital Inc. IGC, +90.65% rocketed more than 90% after the company announced that it would begin using blockchain in its business. The move comes amid a wave of similar name and business-model changes amid a fervor to adopt the nascent blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin cryptocurrencies, to their businesses. That includes Long Island Ice Tea Corp. LTEA, -20.13% , which said last week that it was changing its name to Long Blockchain Corp.

Bitcoin sees a postholiday bounce

Bitcoin futures trading on the CBOE Global Markets Inc. CBOE, -0.35% for January delivery XBTF8, -1.45% closed at $15,810, up 13.3%, while futures on the CME Group Inc. CME, -0.03%  settled at $15,785, up 11.7% on the session.

Coinbase woes

Evidence of questionable trading activity tied to the launch of trading in bitcoin cash at Coinbase last week has emerged, according to a recent article from Forbes.

Popular digital-currency linked stocks

Shares of Overstock.com Inc. OSTK, +5.25% rose 5.3% on Tuesday, while Greyscale’s Bitcoin Investment GBTC, +18.59%  climbed nearly 19%. Overstock and its CEO Patrick Byrne have been among the earliest bitcoin bulls, allowing sales using bitcoin on the e-commerce platform, while GBTC is a closed-end fund linked to bitcoin’s value. Both assets rose as bitcoin climbed. Both often trade proxies for bitcoin sentiment.

Meanwhile, shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, -0.76%  and Nvidia Corp. NVDA, +1.11% , which make the graphics chips mostly often used in “mining” digital currencies like bitcoin, were mixed. AMD shares ended down 0.8%, while Nvidia shares gained 1%.