Bitcoin Rallies above $7,000 for the First Time

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© Reuters.  Bitcoin rallies above $7,000 for the first time© Reuters. Bitcoin rallies above $7,000 for the first time

Investing.com – The price of the digital currency bitcoin rose to a new all-time high above the $7,000 level on Thursday, extending a recent record rally.

On the U.S.-based GDAX exchange, Bitcoin hit a high of $7,089.80 and was at $7,040.80 by 05:42 AM ET (09:42 AM GMT).

Bitcoin is up as much as 640% this year after starting the year near $1,000 and at current prices has a total market capitalization of around $117 billion.

The digital currency has been boosted by news that futures markets operator CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) is planning to launch bitcoin futures later this year, pending regulatory approvals.

The launch of a bitcoin product by a major regulated exchange could help cryptocurrencies gain legitimacy in the financial world and represent a major step forward in mainstream adoption.

CME is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which would have to sign off on the launch of any bitcoin futures contract.

Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin offshoot Bitcoin Cash was last at $558.38, up 4.77% for the day.

Bitcoin cash has a total market cap of around $9.5 billion at current prices, making it the third most valuable cryptocurrency.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading, Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin, was down 2.97% to $280.10.

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