Digital currency bitcoin surged past the $15,000-mark (approximately Rs 9,68,000) on Thursday, marking a rise of over 1,400% since the beginning of the year, Bloomberg reported. The price of the cryptocurrency surged 14.9% to reach $15,242.99, a record, before falling back to $15087.47. The currency has now gained over 50% in December itself.

Bitcoin now has a market value of more than $256 billion, CNBC reported. The digital currency had touched a market value of $203 billion on Wednesday.

The Australian securities exchange ASX Ltd. said that it would begin using blockchain, a ledger software that makes bitcoin possible, to process equity transactions, Bloomberg reported. The price of the cryptocurrency was also boosted on Thursday by a successful test of the Lighting Network. The network’s technology will allow buyers and sellers to make transactions using bitcoin privately.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange said it would start trading bitcoin futures on December 10, while United States financial market company CME Group will launch its bitcoin futures product on December 18.