Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has topped $50,000 (£35,924), breaking through the symbolic milestone or the first time in its 12-year history.
Bitcoin climbed above $50,000 at around 12.30pm in London on Tuesday. The cryptocurrency had come close to breaking through the historic level in the early hours of the morning but pulled back. Bitcoin was trading at $50,311.63 at 12.38pm in London.
The new high extends a bull run for bitcoin that began last October. The world's biggest cryptocurrency has risen over 350% since then.
The rally has coincided with increased institutional adoption. PayPal (PYPL) said last year it would allow customers to handle the token through its platform and Mastercard (MA) followed suite last week. BNY Mellon, America's oldest bank, said it too would handle bitcoin on behalf of clients, paving the way for more money to flow into the market.
Institutions have already been putting money into the cryptocurrency. Square (SQ) invested $50m into the cryptocurrency in October and wealth manager Ruffer put some of its £21bn ($29bn) in assets into bitcoin last November. The biggest jolt came when Tesla (TSLA) announced at the start of this month that it had invested $1.5bn into the cryptocurrency.
"Bitcoin’s ascent from $40k to $50k took 6 weeks, a relative snail’s pace given its move from $20k to $40k happened in 3 weeks," said Antoni Trenchev, chief executive of cryptocurrency company Nexo.
He said the next big price milestone would be $100,000.
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"Growing corporate support for the crypto makes this a very different market to what it was in 2017," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com. "Money printing and dollar debasement is also a factor."
Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade, said: "A decent amount of bitcoin supply is under institutional clients and US corporates' control. Given the fact that billionaire, US corporate, and institutional clients are supporting the current rally, the bitcoin volatility has tamed to a larger extent."
Mati Greenspan, founder of Quantum Economics, said bitcoin could soon see a price pullback.
"This is the stuff dreams are made of, but I'm not so sure how sustainable these gains are," he said. "I think it is very unlikely that the corresponding projects have grown in usage by that much during this short period of time."
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