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Bitcoin surged past $16,000 for the first time on Thursday, as the frenzy to buy the cryptocurrency continued.

Coinbase, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, said it had experienced record traffic that had slowed trading while wallet service, Trezor, also reported issues.

Bitcoin rose more than $4,000 in 24 hours as the cryptocurrency’s incredible run continued at full steam. By late morning in London, the price was already up 18.5 per cent on the day to $15,246.79, before passing the $16,000 mark just after 4pm. 

Bitcoin has received a boost as the number of established financial players that have indicated that they will begin to offer cryptocurrency-related products continues to increase.

Australian Stock Exchange operator, ASX, said on Thursday that it will start using blockchain to process share transactions. Blockchain is the technology that allows bitcoin transactions to be recorded publicly.

Cliff Richards, executive general manager at ASX, said that moving to blockchain could also be beneficial for Australia’s securities regulator.

“To the extent that it helps them get the reporting details that they need, and potentially move more to more proactive action, we believe that it puts them in a position to do those types of things,” he told Bloomberg.

Bitcoin speculators were also encouraged by the successful test of technology known as the Lightning Network on Thursday. It is hoped the advance will allow bitcoin to work significantly faster by allowing parties to transact outside of the blockchain, with the interaction later sent to the public network. Bitcoin has in the past suffered long-term problems with slow transaction speeds.

Other big players soon to offer bitcoin futures include CBOE Global Markets which said it will start offering its new product them on 10 December and CME which will debut its tradable bitcoin contracts on 18 December. Nasdaq is planning to offer futures in 2018, according to sources cited by Bloomberg, and Cantor Fitzgerald is also creating a bitcoin derivative,

Bitcoin sceptics say that this will allow bitcoin’s price to come down as short-sellers can begin to bet against the digital currency which has now seen a fifteen-fold increase on its value since the start of the year, when its price stood at less than $1,000.

According to cryptocurrency website CoinMarketCap, the total value of all cryptocurrencies has shot up to more than $390bn, from $17.7bn at the start of the year.

This article is being regularly updated to reflect the price of bitcoin


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