The cryptocurrency market is now doing the same daily volume as the New York Stock Exchange

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 6.

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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 6.
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REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

  • Global volume in cryptocurrency markets has passed $50 billion, close to the average turnover on New York Stock Exchange.
  • The comparison is inexact but highlights just how popular digital currencies have become.

LONDON – Global cryptocurrency markets are now averaging the same daily trading volumes as the New York Stock Exchange.

Twenty-four-hour trade volume in the cryptocurrency market passed the $50 billion mark on Wednesday, according to the data provider CoinMarketCap.com.

That is close to the average daily volume of trade on the New York Stock Exchange this year. Daily trading volumes on the London Stock Exchange hover at about £5 billion, or $6.7 billion.

The comparison is inexact, as the cryptocurrency market is arguably closer to the foreign-exchange market, which has daily volumes of over $5 trillion.

But it highlights just how hot the cryptocurrency market has become in 2017. Unlike the foreign-exchange market, cryptocurrency trading is largely done by small-time, retail investors, making it closer to the stock market (though some huge institutions are playing in the market.)

Investors have flocked to cryptocurrencies in 2017 because of the eye-catching returns of bitcoin, which has grown by about 1,500% against the dollar. A boom in so-called initial coin offerings, in which startups issue their own cryptocurrencies to raise money, has created a raft of other digital assets for investors to speculate on. There are now more than 1,300 cryptocurrencies in circulation, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

But many people within the financial industry have expressed concern about the largely unregulated market. The UK’s top financial regulator warned earlier this month that people should be prepared to lose all the money they invest in bitcoin, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has called cryptocurrencies a “scam.”