Bitcoin climbed as much as 7.9 percent on Thursday as it surged above $14,000, extending this month’s advance to more than 40 percent. The price of the cryptocurrency touched $14,399.99, a record, according to Bloomberg pricing.
ASX Ltd., the main exchange operator for equities and derivatives in Australia, on Thursday said it will start using blockchain to process equity transactions. Blockchain is the ledger software that makes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible, and Digital Asset Holdings LLC, the startup run by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Blythe Masters, will supply the technology.
Bitcoin also got a boost from a successful test of the Lightning Network, which promises to provide a new way to pay with bitcoin. The technology would move some transactions away from the blockchain by allowing buyers and sellers to transact privately and later broadcast their activity to the public network. Supporters say it will ease the on-going congestion plaguing bitcoin.
On Wednesday, the three companies behind the technology — Lightning Labs, Blockstream Corp. and ACINQ — successfully made multiple payments. This is the first time their system has been used on bitcoin’s actual blockchain, according to Elizabeth Stark, head of Lightning Labs. She said this paves the way toward testing with outside businesses.
“We had done some tests before on the main net, but this was the first payment on the bitcoin blockchain across implementations,” Stark said in an email. “The stakes are quite a bit higher when it comes to releasing for the main bitcoin network.”
The price of bitcoin cash fell after the news, slumping 7.4 percent to $1,321, according to prices on Bitfinex. The rival offers a separate solution to bitcoin’s congestion issue.
Bitcoin’s latest price move will add to a chorus coming from naysayers who assert the speculative frenzy is an asset bubble waiting to pop. The largest cryptocurrency by market value has soared from less than $1,000 at the start of the year, up more than 1,300 percent.
Cboe Global Markets Inc. has said it will start trading bitcoin futures on Dec. 10, while CME Group Inc.’s contracts are set to debut on Dec. 18. Nasdaq Inc. is planning to offer futures in 2018, according to a person familiar with the matter. Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s Cantor Exchange is creating a bitcoin derivative, and startup LedgerX already offers options.
Bitcoin was trading up 6 percent at $14,184.99 as of 1:30 p.m. Tokyo time.