$12k – check, $13k – check, $14k – check, $15k – check, $16k – check, 17k check in less than two days! – December 7

And there is a good chance by the time I finish writing this newsletter, Bitcoin price will cross $18,000 mark. The cryptocurrency is crossing $1,000 checkpoints in a matter of minutes now. What on Earth is going on?

This kind of rally has never been witnessed before. It’s unprecedented! This dramatic ascent by Bitcoin has propelled the entire cryptocurrency market cap to close to half a trillion dollars! Other cryptocurrencies are not standing a chance in front of this rally. Bitcoin’s dominance is now 65% in the crypto market.

Over the past few months, the demand for Bitcoin from the South Korean traditional finance sector has grown at a rapid pace, with institutional investors, casual traders, and individual investors rushing to invest in the cryptocurrency market. At one point, Bithumb, Korea’s largest exchange, was trading Bitcoin at a premium of $3500.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s volume in the past 24 hours has crossed $16 billion with exchanges Bitfinex, Bithumb and GDAX leading the way.

The primary theory behind this astonishing rally is that Bitcoin is pricing in the entry of big institutional money via the introduction of the first BTC futures products.

Both CBOE Global Markets and CME Group are set to launch the new futures contracts on Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, respectively. There is a good chance this rally will continue at least until Sunday’s listing of BTC futures on the CBOE.

There is no way to predict the price of Bitcoin from here on. Sky’s the limit or it could even crash to $10,000. Like I mentioned, I’m about to send this email and Bitcoin price is already trading above $18,000 on GDAX.

Top Stories from the Crypto World

1. Bitcoin’s Lightning Network almost ready

The long wait is finally over. Startups behind the three most active Lightning implementations have revealed test results, including live transactions, proving their software is now interoperable.

Many believe the best solution for increasing Bitcoin’s capacity is the lightning network. The findings, released by ACINQ, Blockstream and Lightning Labs, effectively bring Lightning closer to public launch.

The founder of ACINQ, Pierre-Marie Padiou said, “This is the Lightning standard we’ve been working on for more than a year. There’s been a lot of work from us and from all participants. It’s a big milestone.”

Trivia: While there’s still time before the release of mainnet software, Padiou believes that the team is almost there and people will soon be able to use Bitcoin to pay for their morning Lattes

2. Steam drops Bitcoin payments citing high fees and price volatility

The most popular online gaming platform Steam is dropping its Bitcoin payments feature, citing problems with the cryptocurrency’s transaction fees and volatile price.

Back in April 2016, Steam, operated by game developer Valve, confirmed a long-rumored move by accepting Bitcoin through a partnership with payment processing BitPay. At the time the company wanted to serve the markets where credit cards may not be widely available.

As of Dec 6, the company will no longer accept payments in the cryptocurrency due to a mixture of high fees and volatility in the price of Bitcoin.

But hey, Lightning Network is just around the corner which will significantly reduce the network congestion and solve the high fees issue. That’s when Valve might reconsider to bring Bitcoin back.

3. British Treasury plans to implement EU-wide cryptocurrency regulation by late 2018

The British Treasury plans to introduce regulations that will cover Bitcoin and other digital currencies in late 2018. The agency is increasingly concerned about the possibility that the virtual currencies could be used in illegal activities like money laundering and tax evasion due to their growing popularity.

Under the planned legislation that is intended to cover the entire European Union (EU), cryptocurrency traders will be compelled to disclose their identities and report any suspicious activity that they may discover in virtual currency trading.

This could actually cause confusion among industry players because the majority of exchanges are already compliant with the existing know your customer (KML) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws.