The world’s largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, extended its breathtaking rally on Tuesday, coming closer to its milestone price level of $50,000. The digital asset is up fivefold over the past year.
The token climbed as much as 3.6 percent to $49,913 in early Asian trading. The price is up around 40 percent this month.
Bitcoin reached $900 billion in market valuation last week for the first time ever, adding over $350 billion in 2021 alone. It currently accounts for 61 percent of the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies. The cumulative market cap of crypto coins has grown 88.5 percent in 2021 so far, after starting the year at $776 billion.
When placed on a list of nations by GDP, bitcoin’s $900 billion falls between Mexico ($1.04 trillion) and the Netherlands ($886 billion). It is also ahead of Switzerland, whose GDP is $707 billion.
Cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin and ethereum, have gained more institutional support lately, triggering another massive rally. Earlier this month, Tesla announced a $1.5 billion investment in bitcoin, saying it will start accepting it as payment. Also this month, the first bitcoin ETF was approved in North America.
In another major step, America’s oldest bank, BNY Mellon, said it would transfer and issue bitcoin for its institutional clients. Credit card major Mastercard announced it will begin allowing clients to make payments in certain cryptocurrencies on its network this year. Visa also said it is considering allowing payments in crypto in countries where it is legal.
“Bitcoin volatility is likely to continue rising in the near term and remain elevated until it settles in around its next plateau,” commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence Mike McGlone said. He added that $100,000 may be a longer-term target for bitcoin.
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