ARLINGTON: Bitcoin reached a new record on Sunday, rising above US$49,000 for the first time.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency reached about US$49,344 earlier in the day, and was around US$49,202 as of 10.20am in London. It’s now up about 70% so far this year. Rival cryptocurrency Ether hit a record on Saturday and is up about 150% year-to-date.

Bitcoin has been buoyed in recent months by endorsements from the likes of Paul Tudor Jones and Stan Druckenmiller.

Bloomberg reported earlier that Morgan Stanley may bet on Bitcoin in its US$150 billion investment arm, following news late last week that BNY Mellon plans to service cryptocurrencies for its clients. And that’s after Tesla Inc put about US$1.5 billion into Bitcoin.

Skeptics warn the asset class could be in a bubble, however.

“With each major announcement like the one BNY Mellon made, other institutions are spurred to more rapid adoption and deployment of digital assets,” said Patrick Campos, chief strategy officer at Securrency, a developer of blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology, on Friday.

“Tesla’s recent announcement will embolden other large corporates and institutions to accept crypto as not just a worthy asset class, but perhaps even an essential one. More important, is the corresponding build-out of institutional services to support these developments will trigger other digital assets-related developments within those institutions and in the larger ecosystem.”