Cryptocurrencies' total value hits record high as bitcoin blasts above $6,500

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LONDON (Reuters) - The aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies hit a record high of around $184 billion on Wednesday, according to industry website Coinmarketcap, making their reported market value worth around the same as that of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley combined.

The new peak came as the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, hit a record high of more than $6,500 BTC=BTSP. That took its own "market cap" - its price multiplied by the number of coins that have been released into circulation - to a record high just shy of $110 billion.

The latest surge in bitcoin - which has seen an eye-watering increase of almost 800 percent in the past 12 months - was driven by news on Tuesday that CME Group CME.O, the world's largest derivative exchange operator, would launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of the year.

The announcement was seen as a major step in the digital currency’s path toward legitimacy and mainstream financial adoption.

The second-most valuable cryptocurrency Ether - sometimes known as “Ethereum”, after the project behind it - was trading slightly down on the day at $302 per coin, having hit a record high of more than $410 in June.

Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe