Bitcoin's price soared past the $48,000 level for a second time this week, hitting a fresh all-time high as Bank of New York Mellon said it would provide custody services for digital assets.
The world's most valuable cryptocurrency hit an intraday record of $48,297 at roughly 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to data from industry site CoinDesk. It was last trading up by more than 4% to trade around $47,670.
BNY Mellon, America's oldest bank and a major custody provider, said Thursday that it would begin financing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The firm will eventually allow crypto assets to pass through the same financial network it currently uses for more traditional holdings like U.S. Treasury bonds and equities.
"BNY Mellon is proud to be the first global bank to announce plans to provide an integrated service for digital assets," Roman Regelman, CEO of asset servicing and head of digital at BNY Mellon, said in a statement Thursday.
"Growing client demand for digital assets, maturity of advanced solutions, and improving regulatory clarity present a tremendous opportunity for us to extend our current service offerings to this emerging field."
BNY Mellon is the latest major financial firm to show support for virtual currencies. On Wednesday, Mastercard said it would offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year.
It also comes after Tesla's announcement Monday that it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment.
Bitcoin is up more than 60% since the start of the year after quadrupling in value in 2020. The digital coin's blistering rally has been boosted by increased demand from institutions, according to bulls, who say that more experienced investors are warming to the cryptocurrency due to the perception that it is a store of value akin to gold.
Skeptics, however, worry bitcoin may be one of the largest market bubbles in history.
Custody services are a key part of the financial system, as they ensure clients' financial assets are held securely. Many firms have sought to address security in crypto. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren't maintained by a central authority like a bank, meaning investors often have nowhere to turn if their funds are lost or stolen.
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