Bitcoin's wild swings occur as the financial community prepares for bitcoin futures to start trading on Cboe Futures Exchange this weekend before hitting the major Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Bitcoin tumbled more than 12 percent in volatile Asian trading on Friday, dropping below the $15,000 level after reaching a record high above $16,000 earlier in the session.
Bitcoin was down 12.6 percent on the Bitstamp exchange at $14,500.76 as of 0530 GMT, after rising to a record $16,666.66.
It was still up more than 30 percent for the week, as investors debated about whether the cryptocurrency was in a bubble that was about to burst.
Created in 2009 as a bit of encrypted software, the digital money has been used to buy everything, including beer and pizza, and is being increasingly accepted by major companies, such as booking website Expedia.
It has soared more than 50 percent in just a week and is up from a 2017 low of $752 in mid-January.
Analysts have put the surge down to growing acceptance among traditional investors and a decision by US regulators to allow Bitcoin futures to trade on major exchanges.
But some, including the US Federal Reserve, have warned against dabbling in Bitcoin as it could threaten financial stability, and fears of a bubble have increased as the price has soared.
Until now, it has only been traded on specialist platforms, but will debut on Cboe Futures Exchange this weekend before hitting the major Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) on December 18.
However, major derivatives brokerages have raised concerns with regulators that the decision to allow it into mainstream markets has been done too hastily, and analysts are warning any hitch with its launch could spell trouble.
Bitcoin transactions happen when heavily encrypted codes are passed across a computer network. It uses blockchain, which records transactions that are updated in real time on an online ledger and maintained by a network of computers.