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Bitcoin jumps to record high, offshoot ‘bitcoin cash’ falls

Exactly four weeks since bitcoin split into bitcoin and bitcoin cash, the original digital currency hit a record high Tuesday while the offshoot fell to its lowest in more than a week.

Bitcoin rose more than 6.5 percent, to a record high of $4,703.42, up nearly 70 percent for the month, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin edged off that high in afternoon trade, hovering around $4,603, still more than quadruple in value for the year and up about 60 percent for August.

Bitcoin cash hit a low of $559.61, its lowest since Aug. 18, before recovering to around $575, according to CoinMarketCap. The alternative version of bitcoin, supported by a minority of developers, is still up about 170 percent from a low of $210 hit on Aug. 1, the day of the split.

While digital currency “miners” temporarily found bitcoin cash more profitable than the original version to mine, by Tuesday it was 32 percent more profitable to mine bitcoin, according to data from the Coin Dance website.

“With Bitcoin back to being more profitable, Bitcoin cash lost some steam,” Nolan Bauerle, director of research at CoinDesk, said in an email to CNBC.

Relative profitability to “mine” bitcoin cash vs. bitcoin

Source: Coin Dance

Meanwhile, institutional interest in bitcoin is rising. A Tuesday report from financial research firm Autonomous Next identified 55 crypto-related funds.

“I think it’s just new money coming in,” said Brian Kelly, a CNBC contributor and head of BKCM, which runs a digital assets strategy for clients. He noted the bulk of the gains in bitcoin came just around the time of the U.S. stock market open Tuesday morning.

Another digital currency, ethereum, climbed nearly 5 percent Tuesday, to around $364, according to CoinMarketCap. Ethereum is up more than 4,400 percent this year and has gained nearly 79 percent this month.

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