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.
Teslas 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 midDecember, but has so far struggled to crack 50,000 after a few attempts.
Bitcoin has been range bound for the past four or five days, suggesting either stalling momentum or a consolidation period, said Justin dAnethan, sales manager at digital asset company Diginex in Hong Kong.
We believe in the latter, he said, since strong recent demand has been drawing down bitcoins finite supply.
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…