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Is it too late to invest in bitcoin?

December 8, 2017

This week alone, the digital currency bitcoin surged $5,000 to a new high of $18,000 before correcting back to $15,000. The cryptocurrency is up nearly 2,000 percent over the year. If you had invested $100 in January, it would be worth $2,000 today.

Nobody knows why it’s up so much, but everyone wants in. From bus drivers to grandmothers to first-time investors, bitcoin is the year’s hottest commodity.

Related:Middle America is crazy in love with bitcoin

Chen Wu, an associate professor of finance at the University of Texas at Tyler, said that the price of bitcoin is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Much of the latest surge in bitcoin prices is nothing more than a self-feeding mania, or FOMO, fear of missing out,” he told NBC News in an email. “The more the media report bitcoin price topping — whether it’s $10,000 or $16,000 — the more short-term speculators want to move in, and this in turn drives it even higher. It’s reminiscent of the Dutch tulip mania in the 17th century and the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.”