Market Overview

Bitcoin within a whisker of $50,000

Bitcoin hit a new record high $60 shy of $50,000 on Tuesday, extending a sharp rally that has been mostly fuelled by big investors beginning to take digital assets seriously. The first and most famous cryptocurrency, bitcoin hit $49,938 and has gained roughly 70% this year, most of that after electric carmaker Tesla said it bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin and would accept the currency as payment.

Tesla’s move was the latest in a string of large investments that have vaulted bitcoin from the fringes of finance to company balance sheets and Wall Street dealing desks, as U.S. firms and traditional money managers have started to buy a lot of it. The soaring cryptocurrency, which was near worthless a decade ago when software developer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas, surpassed $20,000 only in mid-December, but has so far struggled to crack $50,000 after a few attempts.

Bitcoin last traded just short of its new record at $49,045 while rival cryptocurrency ethereum also held near its own record top of $1,879 made last week. Besides Tesla, bitcoin has drawn unprecedented flows from big and small investors in recent months and posted new milestones on the path to greater takeup as a mode of exchange.

Bitcoin within a whisker of $50,000, Reuters, Feb 16

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