Bitcoin jumped to a record high after Mastercard Inc. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. moved to make it easier for customers to use cryptocurrencies.
The largest digital asset rose as much as 8.1% to $48,663, surpassing the all-time high reached Monday after Tesla Inc. announced it would hold $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency on its balance sheet. The wider Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index also touched a record.
“Bitcoin appears to be in a near-perfect storm for higher prices, and Tesla has helped solidify about $50,000 as the next whole number resistance target,” said Mike McGlone, a Bloomberg Intelligence commodity strategist.
Mastercard singled out so-called “stablecoins,” which often peg their value to that of another asset, such as the U.S. dollar. Mastercard has already partnered with crypto card providers such as Wirex and BitPay, but has required digital currencies to be converted into fiat before processing payments for transactions on its network.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said Thursday it will hold, transfer and issue Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for institutional customers.
Interest in cryptocurrencies has accelerated yet again as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, emerged as a central figure for the crypto faithful, supporting arguments among proponents that Wall Street and the mainstream are becoming more receptive to the asset class. Detractors maintain speculators are behind Bitcoin’s rise and the bubble will once again burst.
Even before announcing Tesla’s bet on Bitcoin, Musk said he was a supporter of Bitcoin on a social audio app and made multiple tongue-in-cheek references on Twitter to Dogecoin — a Shiba Inu-themed crypto started as a joke — sending prices soaring.
Mastercard is also “actively engaging” with central banks around the world on their plans to launch new digital currencies, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.
“The announcements from both Mastercard and BNY Mellon confirm the fundamental shift that financial institutions are committing to cryptocurrencies,” said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. “This is great news for further mainstream acceptance with cryptocurrencies and will likely continue to keep the excitement going for Bitcoin.” [Bloomberg]