Bitcoin surge seemingly unstoppable as it tops $60,000 for first time

World's best-known cryptocurrency has tripled in value over the past three months, bolstered by backing from corporate heavyweights and despite US probe

Bitcoin surge seemingly unstoppable as it tops $60,000 for first time
Binance founder Chanpeng Zhao speaks at the company's annual new year forum. Bitcoin investors shrugged off reports the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating the cryptocurrency exchange. Photo: Binance

(ATF) Bitcoin passed the $60,000 mark for the first time on March 12 with analysts saying the giant US stimulus package helped boost the world's most popular virtual currency on its record-breaking run.

The cryptocurrency hit $60,197 in the evening (Hong Kong time) and continued to hover around $60,000, according to the website CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin, the world's biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, rose 6.64% to $61,073.71 on March 12, adding $3,802.67 to its previous close. Coinbase quoted the crypto at $61,208 early on Sunday, Hong Kong time.

Bitcoin has tripled in value over the past three months - it was worth $20,000 in December 2020 - bolstered by increasing backing from corporate heavyweights.

The cryptocurrency had taken a tumble last week after reports the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating Binance Holdings, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. 

The investigation focuses on whether Binance, an unregistered CFTC member, allowed Americans to buy cryptocurrencies. 

"If we didn’t have cryptocurrency ETFs and futures trading, this news would have dragged Bitcoin sharply lower," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at the Oanda currency brokerage in New York. 

NO SELLING PRESSURE

While the investigation appeared to block bitcoin's path to $60,000, investors shrugged off doubts .

"These probes will likely mean only more restrictive measures to curtail money laundering and sanctions violations," Moya said. "The crypto world is fully expecting some regulatory changes, so this should not change the fundamental case for a much higher bitcoin in the long-term."

Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson told Agence France-Presse that in recent days, "Bitcoin went up as investors looked to the imminent arrival of stimulus cheques".

Individuals in the US earning up to $75,000 will receive a cheque for $1,400 from this weekend, after President Joe Biden signed his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 rescue plan into law this week.

Bitcoin has been on a meteoric rise since March last year, when it stood at $5,000, spurred by online payments giant PayPal saying it would allow account holders to use cryptocurrency.

Last month, Elon Musk's electric carmaker Tesla invested $1.5 billion in the virtual unit, while Twitter chief Jack Dorsey and rap mogul Jay-Z said they are creating a fund aimed at making bitcoin "the internet's currency".

Others jumping on the bandwagon include BNY Mellon, BlackRock and Mastercard.

With reporting by Agence France-Presse

ALSO SEE:

Coinbase listing filing pulls back the veil on bitcoin trading

High-end shops in Shanghai trialling digital yuan

Chinese beauty app Meitu joins Tesla in cryptocurrency investing