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- The crypto market's value has pushed past $2 trillion for the first time after doubling in two months.
- Bitcoin, which makes up about 50% of the entire crypto market, has rallied 100% so far this year.
- Morgan Stanley, PayPal, Mastercard, and other firms have taken the plunge to embrace digital assets.
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The total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has exceeded $2 trillion for the first time, after doubling in two months, spurred by rising institutional demand for bitcoin and ethereum.
Bitcoin's market value makes up more than 50% of that figure and it is now worth more than $1 trillion, data from Coinmarketcap.com showed.
It was last trading at $58,523 on Tuesday, only about 4% lower from last month's all-time high of almost $61,000.
Bitcoin has already rallied 100% so far this year, and is up 700% in the last 12 months.
The next five biggest coins – Ethereum, Binance Coin, XRP, Tether, and Polkadot – together are valued at about $422 billion. More than 6,600 cryptocurrencies exist in total.
The latest jump in the cryptocurrency market cap has partly been driven by growing interest in ethereum.
The price of ether rose to an all-time high of $2,077 on Friday following growing enthusiasm over its use in decentralized finance or DeFi applications.
"Users are already relying on decentralized applications as opposed to banks and fintechs in order to borrow and lend their money, earning high yield, minting new assets, and trading on exchanges run by protocols instead of companies like Robinhood," Sergey Nazarov, cofounder of blockchain platform Chainlink, told Insider by email.
"The significance of this initial shift from centralized finance to decentralized finance cannot be overstated."
Big Wall Street players increasingly seem to want in on bitcoin.
A recent decline in its volatility has made it more appealing to institutions seeking to diversify portfolios, JPMorgan said last week.
Morgan Stanley has approved bitcoin exposure for a handful of funds accessible to its wealthiest clients, while companies like Mastercard, PayPal, and Starbucks are all taking steps to enable crypto payments.
Goldman Sachs could begin to offer investment vehicles with bitcoin exposure as soon as the second quarter, CNBC reported.
"As the industry continues to mature, we expect more blockchain-based applications to be introduced to the world, and coinciding with that, a surge of interest around other alternative assets, decentralized apps and ecosystems as they become more market-ready," Paolo Ardoino, CTO at crypto exchange Bitfinex, told Insider.
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