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Bitcoin hits new record high as warnings grow louder

LONDON: Bitcoin blasted to another all-time high of almost $18,000 on the Bitstamp exchange on Friday, up 9 percent on the day, as warnings grew over the risks of investing in the highly volatile and speculative instrument. The cryptocurrency’s staggering recent price rises -- more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year -- have driven worries that the market is a bubble that could burst in spectacular fashion. Bitcoin has climbed almost 80 percent so far in December alone, putting it on track for its best month…