Bitcoin briefly nears $19,000 because, well, why not

The digital currency continues its extraordinary rise with a quick spike before settling down around $16,000. What's next?

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There's no stopping bitcoin. 

Science Picture Co

Bitcoin may be digital currency, but why would anyone spend it?

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Bitcoin prices briefly spiked past $18,000 on Thursday before settling down.

Screenshot by Sean Buckley/CNET

At this point, it's worth it just to hang on your bitcoins, given the extraordinary run that it's been on. The digital currency surged briefly to more than $18,000 before crashing down, according to Coinbase. It's now trading at more than $16,000. 

The action was so hot that by midday, the San Francisco-based Coinbase tweeted it was "currently experiencing record high traffic."

Remember, bitcoin was valued at around $1,000 at the beginning of the year, but it really began its big run over the last two months. 

At its current rate, it could climb to $17,000 before day's end. While critics fear there's a bubble in the making, the currency continues to rise in value. 

First published Dec. 7, 8:22 a.m. PT.
Update, 8:22 a.m. PT: To note bitcoin already passed $16,000. 
Update, 1:30 p.m. PT: Includes bitcoin reached the $18,000 mark.