Digital currency stellar soared 20 percent Wednesday after online payments company Stripe said it may add support for the cryptocurrency.
Stellar, or XLM, climbed to about 58.96 cents, up 21.2 percent on the day, according to CoinMarketCap. That gave the digital currency a market value of about $10.3 billion, making it the sixth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Stellar traded near 58.1 cents as of 9:05 a.m. ET.
Stripe handles payments for more than 100,000 businesses, including Warby Parker and OpenTable. The company announced Tuesday afternoon that it would stop processing bitcoin transactions on April 23 due to slower transaction rates and high fees.
But "we may add support for Stellar (to which we provided seed funding) if substantive use continues to grow," Stripe product manager Tom Karlo said in a blog post.
Stellar 30-day performance
"It's possible that Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or another Bitcoin variant, will find a way to achieve significant popularity while keeping settlement times and transaction fees very low," he said. "Bitcoin itself may become viable for payments again in the future."
Bitcoin held mostly steady Tuesday after the Stripe news and was 3.5 percent higher near $11,230 as of 9:06 a.m. ET, according to CoinDesk. The bitcoin price index from CoinDesk tracks prices from digital currency exchanges Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Bitfinex.
The average confirmation time over the last seven days for bitcoin transactions has leaped up to well over a day, according to Blockchain.info. The median bitcoin transaction fee soared to a high of $34 in late December and remained above $10 until the last few days, according to bitinfocharts.
In contrast, stellar says transactions on its network settle in two to five seconds, for a tiny fraction of a penny. Stellar's coins are officially called lumens, or XLM. The digital currency has climbed rapidly over the last several weeks to push stellar into the ranks of the 10 largest digital currencies by market cap.
Stellar operates a network that uses the same blockchain technology that powers bitcoin. One feature of stellar, the company says, is it allows users to quickly exchange government-backed currencies, such as turning U.S. dollars into euros.
Stellar is up about 60 percent this year, according to CoinMarketCap, while CoinDesk data shows bitcoin is down about 18 percent for the year so far.