Banks, lenders and other financial companies ticked down as traders retreated from bets that tax legislation would pass this year. The price of digital currency bitcoin surged to new records amid reports that people in struggling nations such as Zimbabwe were using the network instead of cash. In mainstream finance, there is a debate over whether the run-up in bitcoin, which has gone from under $1000 to around $8000 this year, is caused by the fundamental outlook for the currency or represents a speculative bubble. "In our view, the purpose of Bitcoin is primarily as a store of value and a tool for privacy; as long as it can perform these functions effectively, there will be demand for it," said Tim Shirata, executive vice president of money manager Guild Investments, in a note to clients. "It also enjoys a significant first-mover advantage, with integration into major parts of the financial system proceeding rapidly, including the recent announcement of cash-settled futures -- which could pave the way for the first Bitcoin ETFs."
-Rob Curran, firstname.lastname@example.org
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 17, 2017 16:45 ET (21:45 GMT)