Bitcoin surges to new high on reports software 'fork' suspended


Bitcoin surged by 10 percent on Wednesday to hit an all-time high just shy of $8,000 after online reports that an upgrade to the cryptocurrency's software planned for next Thursday had been suspended.

Bitcoin experts cited a statement on the Linux Foundation website, signed by several high-profile bitcoin entrepreneurs and developers who had backed the plan, that said the "Segwit2x" upgrade would be scrapped for now as it could "divide the community".

The upgrade would have changed bitcoin's rules in a so-called "fork", effectively cloning the existing bitcoin to create another cryptocurrency.

"Our goal has always been a smooth upgrade for Bitcoin," the statement, authored by Mike Belshe, CEO of blockchain security firm BitGo, said. "Although we strongly believe in the need for a larger blocksize, there is something we believe is even more important: keeping the community together."

Reuters could not immediately verify the origin of the statement.

Bitcoin surged from just below $7,500 to a new record high of $7,888 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange in the 20 minutes that followed the statement's release.

"The 2x fork is dead. Long live #bitcoin," wrote Alistair Milne, manager of the Altana Digital Currency Fund, in a post on Twitter. (Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Editing by Mike Dolan)