The price of Bitcoin rose above $50,000 (£36,000) on Tuesday for the first time in the cryptocurrency’s history.

The gains mean the value of the digital currency has risen by around 67 per cent so far since the beginning of 2021.

Experts are divided on whether the rapid price rises represent a bubble or the beginning of mass adoption of Bitcoin as a legitimate payment method.

So what is the current price of Bitcoin?

Latest Bitcoin price

As of Wednesday morning, Bitcoin’s value soared even further than Tuesday’s record-breaking levels.

A single Bitcoin now costs $51,211 (£36,925), according to online trading platform Coindesk.

The cryptocurrency, which was near worthless a decade ago when software developer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas, broke $20,000 for the first time in mid-December.

The rising price has raised concerns that Bitcoin is due for a dramatic correction, as happened three years ago when the value collapsed after a bull run.

During the rally in 2017 Bitcoin came close to breaking through the $20,000 level, only to hit extreme lows and fall below $3,300.

View of the BTC-USD trading pair candlestick chart on Coinbase Pro after cryptocurrency Bitcoin rallied to $50,000 in this screenshot taken in CET time February 16, 2021. Coinbase via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Experts are divided on whether the meteoric rise represents a bubble. (Photo: Reuters)

Why is the price rising?

There are signs that the world’s biggest cryptocurrency is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies.

Most of the gains this year came after electric carmaker Tesla said it had bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin.

The move by Tesla, which also said it would accept bitcoin as payment, was the latest in a string of large investments by several reputable investors and financial institutions.

PayPal is allowing customers to use Bitcoin at its merchants and Mastercard preparing to do the same.

Such mainstream moves could help Bitcoin become a widespread means of payment, having so far failed to achieve large scale adoption, and in turn bolster prices.

The rush in 2021 by retail and institutional investors comes on top of a 300 per cent rise last year as investors searched for high-yielding assets and dollar alternatives amid rock-bottom or even negative interest rates globally.

Its meteoric has also led some major investment banks to warn of a speculative bubble.

Bitcoin’s rise “blows the doors off prior bubbles,” Bank of America said last month.

Despite the mainstream interest, cryptocurrencies remain subject to patchy oversight globally, with the lack of regulatory clarity and associations with crime keeping many larger investors leery of exposure.

In October last year, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said he was “very nervous” about people using Bitcoin for payments pointing out that investors should realise its price is extremely volatile.

“I have to be honest, it is hard to see that Bitcoin has what we tend to call intrinsic value,” he said. “It may have extrinsic value in the sense that people want it.”

Additional reporting from Reuters