- Bitcoin hit a record high of close to $US62,00 ($7,988) on Saturday as interest in the currency continued to soar.
- A diverse group of firms are now moving into cryptocurrencies, from Morgan Stanley to Tesla.
- Analysts say institutional interest is driving prices higher and adding legitimacy to crypto assets.
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Bitcoin jumped to a record high of close to $US62,000 ($79,879) on Saturday, with many analysts pointing to a new wave of institutional interest as the driver.
The bitcoin price then tumbled around 10% in the following days but picked up again, trading at around $US58,000 ($74,725) on Thursday.
Morgan Stanley became the latest major player to make a serious move into crypto, with CNBC reporting on Wednesday that it is set to offer its wealth management clients access to bitcoin funds.
Skeptics argue that bitcoin is too volatile for investors to start buying in any meaningful quantities and has next to no use value, putting it in line for another collapse.
But a rising number of firms are testing the crypto-waters. Bitcoin enthusiasts argue that “this time is different” for the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, because big-name firms are supporting the price and lending legitimacy to the project.
Here’s a rundown of some of the major players taking steps towards bitcoin.
17 March: Morgan Stanley set to offer clients access to bitcoin funds
Morgan Stanley is set to become the first major American bank to offer its high net worth wealth management clients access to bitcoin funds, CNBC reported.
Two will be run by Galaxy Digital, the crypto firm founded by Mike Novogratz, while one will be jointly managed by FS Investments, an asset manager, and NYDIG, a bitcoin company.
17 March: Chinese selfie app Meitu snaps up another $US50 ($64) million in crypto
The photo-retouching company Meitu, which is hugely popular in China, said it bought about $US28.4 ($37) million of ether and $US21.6 ($28) million bitcoin.
It took the company’s crypto holdings to around $US90 ($116) million, with about $US39.5 ($51) million in bitcoin.
12 March: MicroStrategy buys another $US15 ($19) million
Michael Saylor’s business intelligence firm MicroStrategy bought another $US15 ($19) million worth of bitcoin, it said on Friday. It brought the company’s total holdings to 91,326 units, worth around $US5.3 ($7) billion on 12 March.
Saylor has long advocated companies investing their cash in the cryptocurrency, and first bought bitcoin in August 2020.
9 March: JPMorgan launches ‘crypto exposure’ product
JPMorgan will create debt products linked to the performance of the crypto basket, giving investors indirect exposure to the cryptocurrency market.
8 March: NYDIG raises $US200 ($258) million from big names
Morgan Stanley and Soros Fund Management were among the big names to get behind crypto technology firm NYDIG in a $US200 ($258) million raise.
1 March: Goldman Sachs relaunches crypto trading desk
Reuters reported that Goldman would restart its crypto desk and begin dealing bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients in March.
February 23: Jack Dorsey’s Square buys $US170 ($219) million more bitcoin
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey’s fintech company Square bought another 3,318 bitcoins for $US170 ($219) million. That took its holdings to more than 8,000, worth upwards of $US450 ($580) million on 12 March.
February 18: First North American bitcoin ETF launches
Canada has now approved 3 bitcoin ETFs, but the US is yet to approve any. Experts say ETFs could spur further rises in the bitcoin price by allowing more institutions to invest.
Canada’s Purpose Bitcoin ETF, the first to launch, had 913 million Canadian dollars ($US731 ($942) million) under management on 11 March.
February 11: BNY Mellon plans to issue, hold and transfer clients’ bitcoin
Bank of New York Mellon plans to issue, hold, and transfer clients’ bitcoin, The Wall Street Journal reported. America’s oldest bank will soon allow digital currencies to be treated the same as more orthodox investments in its asset-management system.
February 10: Mastercard will allow merchants to accept select cryptocurrencies
Mastercard will begin allowing customers to use some cryptocurrencies on its network later this year, although it did not specify which.
“We are preparing right now for the future of crypto and payments,” Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset products said in a blog.
February 8: Tesla says it invested $US1.5 ($2) billion in bitcoin
Elon Musk’s Tesla powered a jump in the bitcoin price by announcing it had invested $US1.5 ($2) billion in bitcoin in January. It also said it plans to accept bitcoin as payment.
Some critics said the bet had exposed the automaker to “immense” risks that could hammer its profits if the bitcoin price plunges.
January 21: BlackRock authorizes funds to invest in bitcoin futures
The $US8 ($10) trillion asset manager BlackRock has authorized two of its funds to invest in bitcoin futures, according to January filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
November 27: Guggenheim reserves right to invest in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust
Guggenheim disclosed in an SEC filing that its Macro Opportunities Fund held the right to invest up to 10% of its net asset value in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.
The Grayscale trust, the world’s biggest bitcoin fund, has become a key way for institutional investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency.
October 21: PayPal announces it will let customers buy and sell bitcoin
PayPal was in many ways a pioneer when it jumped into crypto in October 2020, allowing customers to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other currencies using online wallets.
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