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Bitcoin races past $50,000 as crypto asset goes mainstream

File Photo: In December, bitcoin had touched an all-time high by crossing the $24,000 mark (REUTERS)Premium
File Photo: In December, bitcoin had touched an all-time high by crossing the $24,000 mark (REUTERS)

  • Bitcoin hit a lifetime high of $50,350.06 before paring some of the gains to trade at $49,425.17, up 3.60% at around 8.50pm IST, as per data available with CoinGecko
  • According to industry experts price movement in bitcoin is being fuelled by demand from retail as well as institutional investors

Bitcoin prices topped the $50,000 level for the first time on Tuesday, nearly a decade after the world’s oldest cryptocurrency hit the $1 mark on 9 February 2011. The recent leg of the rally has come on the back of sustained interest from some of the major global institutions. Companies such as Tesla, MasterCard, PayPal, MicroStrategy and Apple recently adopted bitcoin into their ecosystem.

The digital currency hit a lifetime high of $50,350.06 before paring some of the gains to trade at $49,425.17, up 3.60% at around 8.50pm IST, as per data available with cryptocurrency tracker CoinGecko. In the rupee terms, it topped the 37 lakh level on crypto-exchange WazirX.

At its peak level, bitcoin commanded a market capitalization of $938 billion, making it more valuable than Tesla and Facebook. In comparison, the world’s biggest company, Apple, has a market valuation of over $2.20 trillion, followed by Saudi Aramco ($2.03 trillion), Microsoft ($1.80 trillion) and Amazon ($1.60 trillion).

According to industry experts price movement in bitcoin is being fuelled by demand from retail as well as institutional investors.

“In the near future, we will see 60, 70, and $100,000. Bitcoin is an inflation-proof, corruption-resistant store of value backed by more reliable and transparent accounting. Bitcoin isn’t a bubble, it’s a part of our economy now," said Vikram Rangala, chief marketing officer at ZebPay.

In December, bitcoin had touched an all-time high by crossing the $24,000 mark and by the beginning of 2021, it had jumped to the $40,000 level, putting its year-to-date (YTD) return at close to 70%.

The nature of the demand for bitcoin has transformed over the past few weeks. Earlier, it was considered as a hedge and a portfolio diversification tool, while recently it made inroads into traditional finance.

“With major institutions such as Tesla, MasterCard, PayPal and MicroStrategy adopting bitcoin into their ecosystem, we are witnessing a continuous rise in demand, thus pushing the valuation higher. We expect the trend to continue in form of investments in these digital assets with the induction of newer products built around bitcoin," said Sumit Gupta, CEO and co-founder, CoinDCX.

Last week, prices had surged around 18% in a day after the US electric-car maker Tesla had disclosed $1.5 billion holding in bitcoin, making it by far the biggest company yet to back the cryptocurrency.

“The price growth had started gaining momentum since the news of Tesla buying $1.5 billion worth bitcoin came out. Bitcoin’s continuous price growth is a testament to the fact that more and more institutions are now seeing it as digital gold, and as a hedge against market volatility," said Nischal Shetty, CEO, WazirX.

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