Bitcoin leaps 15% to highest in nearly a month

  • Bitcoin jumped to its highest in nearly a month
  • Analysts noted diminished threat of a split in the currency on Aug. 1
  • Institutional investor interest in bitcoin has also grown in the last several weeks

Bitcoin jumped Thursday to its highest price in almost four weeks as digital currency developers appeared to come closer to an agreement that would prevent a split in the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin rose more than 15 percent, to $2,675.67, its highest level since June 25, according to CoinDesk. As of 1:33 p.m. ET, the digital currency traded near $2,648. It’s up about 4 percent for July and more than 170 percent higher for the year.

Bitcoin three-month performance

Developers need to agree on activating an upgrade known as Segregated Witness by Aug. 1 in order to prevent the digital currency from splitting, or forking. Coinbase’s GDAX exchange has said it might pause bitcoin trading if the currency splits.
“Bitcoin is rallying largely because the probability of Segregated Witness being activated is increasing as more miners signal that they will activate it,” said Ari Paul, CIO of BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency investment firm.

The gains in Ethereum came despite news Wednesday that hackers stole more than $30 million in Ethereum from wallets as the result of a security flaw. Earlier in the week, thieves stole more than $7 million in Ethereum by hacking the initial coin offering for CoinDash.

Not every miner has to agree, but at least 80 percent need to. The move higher also came amid increased interest in the digital currency world from Wall Street. Forbes reported Tuesday that bitcoin is a top holding of investor Bill Miller’s hedge fund.

“The institutional interest in this space has picked up again, not that it really died off too much,” said Brian Kelly, a CNBC contributor and founder of BKCM, which runs a digital asset management strategy for clients. “Institutions are looking to get back in in a meaningful way.”

Ethereum also jumped more than 18 percent, to near $230, its highest since Tuesday, according to TradingView charts of Coinbase data. Ethereum plunged below $200 over the weekend.