“The institutional side and corporate America is showing that this movement is not going away any time soon,” said Edward Moya, senior market strategist at OANDA. “There’s still a raft of big money that’s going to jump onto this bandwagon.”
Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami also said on Friday the Florida city was seeking to embrace bitcoin in its operations, a move that could bring dividends in terms of attracting technology companies.
In January, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, added bitcoin as an eligible investment to two funds.
Credit card giant Mastercard’s plans to offer support for some cryptocurrencies also boosted bitcoin’s ambitions towards mainstream finance, though many banks remain reluctant to engage with it.
Cryptocurrency miner Riot Blockchain rose 14 per cent on Friday and hit its highest in more than 10 years with a weekly gain of 110 per cent, its biggest weekly gain since 2017. Digital asset tech company Marathon Patent Group showed a weekly gain of more than 70 per cent.
Tesla is facing further questions over its investment in bitcoin after it emerged that a board member has investments in cryptocurrency businesses.
Antonio Gracias, an independent member of Tesla’s board, sits on the four-strong audit committee that signed off Tesla’s groundbreaking $US1.5 billion deal.
Mr Gracias, the founder of investment firm Valor Equity Partners, has also invested in two companies involved with cryptocurrency or blockchain technology and is on their boards.
He is a director at BitGo, a Silicon Valley company that stores bitcoin for businesses, and cryptocurrency contract trading hub ErisX, according to the start-up database PitchBook.
Mr Gracias was previously an investor in another crypto firm, Harbor, which was bought last year by BitGo. Bitcoin’s price rose by 16 per cent after Tesla’s announcement last Monday, and the deal prompted predictions of a wave of new corporate interest in cryptocurrencies.
Tesla has not said if Mr Gracias took part in a vote to approve its investment policy change, but corporate governance experts said the shared roles created a potential conflict of interest that should mean him recusing himself.
Bill Klepper, a professor of management at Columbia Business School, said: “If there’s any direct conflict or appearance of that, you better stay arm’s length away from it. The right thing to have done would be to get the advice of legal counsel. We don’t know if he’s done that or not.
“We have to find out whether or not he is acting in good faith. It’s in the lack of transparency, that you find people begin to question your ethics.”
Charles Elson, a finance professor at the University of Delaware, said: “Good prudence would have suggested a recusal in those circumstances.”
A long-time ally of Tesla boss Elon Musk, Mr Gracias invested in the company in 2005 and has been on its board since 2007 and also sits on the board of Mr Musk’s rocket company SpaceX. He is stepping down from Tesla this year.
Tesla has faced repeated questions over its corporate governance. In 2018, Mr Musk was forced to step aside as chairman as part of a settlement with US regulators, although the requirement expires later this year.
Tesla and Mr Gracias did not respond to requests for comment.
– with The Telegraph, London