London: As cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase prepares to issue shares on Wall Street, Bitcoin hit a record high of over $62,000 on Tuesday.
Bitcoin reached $62,377, which is a substantial increase of 114% since the beginning of the year.
After the big drop in 2018, the value of Bitcoin rebounded and has set a record since the second half of last year-from approximately US$12,000 in October to more than US$60,000 a month ago.
Although some people question whether the cryptocurrency market is sustainable, the arrival of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on the Nasdaq market on Wednesday is still one of the most anticipated events on Wall Street this year.
The estimated value of Coinbase depends on the calculation method, but its market value is expected to be between 7 and 100 billion US dollars.
This will make it the largest initial public offering (IPO) of a US company since Facebook in 2012.
The platform was established in 2012 and allows users to buy and sell about 50 cryptocurrencies.
The cryptocurrency market has grown exponentially in 2021 and is now worth an astonishing $2.0 trillion, as it has increasingly attracted the interest of celebrities on Wall Street.
While anybody can “mine” for new bitcoins, to do so requires giant data centres, which has led to platforms such as Coinbase providing a way of trading in cryptocurrencies.
Banks and payment services such as Paypal allow transactions in certain digital currencies.
Despite 12-year-old bitcoin’s volatility and limitations as a means of payment, it is seen as a store of value to rival and perhaps one day surpass gold as a haven investment in the face of high inflation for example.
Electric car giant Tesla has invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin and in March began accepting the currency as payment.
Tesla’s multi-billionaire chief executive Elon Musk has also used social media to espouse the merits of cryptocurrencies, helping to lift interest and prices.