Bitcoin surpasses $50,000 for first time ever

It is a sign that the world’s biggest cryptocurrency is gaining acceptance amongst mainstream investors

Photo: EPA A Bitcoin ATM in a store in New York, New York, USA

Bitcoin’s price broke above $50,000 for the first time in history Tuesday, continuing its blistering rally as major companies appear to be warming to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin hit a new high of $50,602, and was last up 5% at $50,300. It has risen around 72% so far this year, with most of the gains coming after electric carmaker Tesla said it had bought $1.5bn in bitcoin.

It also said it would accept the currency as payment, as Reuters reminds.

But Tesla was only the latest in a string of large investments that have vaulted bitcoin from the fringes of finance to company balance sheets and Wall Street dealing desks, as US firms and traditional money managers have started to buy a lot of it. Mastercard for instance said it would open up its network to some digital currencies. PayPal and BNY Mellon have also made big moves to support crypto.

These developments have led some crypto investors to believe the latest bull run is different to rallies past. Bitcoin skyrocketed to nearly $20,000 in late 2017 before losing more than 80% of its value the following year. Bitcoin believers say that, whereas the 2017 bubble was driven by retail speculation, the current cycle is being fueled by demand from institutional investors.

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