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Brokerage Siebert Financial's shares double on blockchain plans

(Reuters) - Shares of Siebert Financial Corp, a small 50-year-old New York brokerage, doubled on Thursday on plans to expand into cryptocurrency trading, in the latest instance of investor frenzy over the red-hot market for virtual currencies.

The gains pushed Siebert's market value to $250 million from Wednesday's $114 million, with shares changing hands in volumes not seen since 1999.

Siebert is partnering with Overstock.com to offer deep discounts on trading U.S. stocks, with plans to eventually expand into blockchain and cryptocurrency trading.

Shares of Overstock, an early proponent of cryptocurrency, have more than tripled in value this year.

Cryptocurrencies have taken the investing world by storm this year. Bitcoin, the best known cryptocurrency, has risen an eye-popping 1,700 percent just in 2017.

Many other blockchain and cryptocurrency-related stocks have mirrored bitcoin's gains, soaring to new life highs several times this year.

Siebert Financial was founded in 1967 by Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company's shares were up 87 percent at $9.69 on Thursday afternoon, after hitting $11.33, their highest level since 2000.

(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)