Bitcoin Breaches $50,000 Barrier For First Time

The value of Bitcoin continues to grow, after the digital currency rose above $50,000 on Tuesday to a new record high.

On Tuesday morning the digital currency hit a high of $50,602, but by the afternoon had settled down to $49,190, according to Yahoo Finance.

It comes after Canada’s principal financial regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission, this week approved the launch of the world’s first exchange-traded fund linked to Bitcoin, bringing the cryptocurrency a step closer to the mainstream.

Record high

The current trading price of Bitcoin is a marked difference from one year ago, when it was trading around the $10,000 mark.

And even that is in stark contrast to the less than $1,000 value in January 2017, a dramatic rise that has spurred intense investor interest.

Indeed, the cryptocurrency has gained over 60 percent so far this year alone.

Matters were helped last week when Tesla disclosed it had acquired $1.5bn in Bitcoin.

The electric car maker also said would accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment for its cars, which caused a further price rise in the virtual asset.

Mainstream interest

There is little doubt that cryptocurrency has also been gaining acceptance amongst mainstream financial companies, while central banks have explored creating versions of the technology that might be less subject to volatility.

In another sign of mainstream interest, the city of Miami last week voted to explore handling some city government transactions in Bitcoin.

Several firms in the US have tried to create Bitcoin ETFs, but have been turned down by the Security and Exchange Commission, which has typically cited concerns such as the potential for market manipulation.

Some industry watchers have speculated the SEC might soon follow Canada’s lead, with others pointing out that the regulator’s new leadership is likely to take its time in reviewing investment firms’ ETF applications.

Bitcoin however remains subject to large price swings, with a dramatic 2017 rise followed by a crash of 80 percent that affected cryptocurrencies across the board from January to September 2018.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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