Bitcoin (XBT) smashed through the $30,000 and $40,000 levels over a few days in January. Bitcoins in circulation are worth more than $1 trillion.
Bitcoin prices have more than doubled so far this year, up 107% from the December 31 closing price of $28,987.60. Investors are excited that Elon Musk’s Tesla (TSLA) said in February it owns $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin on its balance sheet. Tesla also has said it was looking at letting consumers use bitcoin to buy its cars and SUVs.
That sparked speculation that other big companies may soon add bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to their balance sheets, since bitcoin is generating a significantly higher return than bonds and cash. Software firm MicroStrategy (MSTR) has been actively buying bitcoin.
This bitcoin bank's stock has jumped nearly 1,300% in just over a year
Top financial firms are helping to validate bitcoin. Payments giants Square (SQ) and PayPal (PYPL) let their users buy and sell it. Credit card processing behemoths Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) are also embracing cryptocurrencies.