Bitcoin hits record high above $63,000 ahead of Coinbase IPO

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The price of bitcoin climbed to a new record high above $63,000 Tuesday as the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase prepares to go public this week.

The world’s largest and oldest digital coin hit an all-time peak of $63,209.45 Tuesday morning, according to CoinDesk, surpassing the previous record of $61,742 it hit last month.

Bitcoin was recently trading at $63,171.14 as of 11:41 a.m., putting it up 5.5 percent from a day earlier and roughly 116 percent for the year so far, CoinDesk data show.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, also hit a new record high of $2,266.68 on Tuesday, CoinDesk says.

Bitcoin has been on a tear over the past six months, but the latest rally came a day before Coinbase — the US’ largest cryptocurrency exchange — was set to start trading on the Nasdaq.

The company’s direct listing slated for Wednesday — which could give it a valuation as high as $100 billion, according to CNBC — is viewed as a major milestone for cryptocurrency advocates and marks another sign of the mainstream financial world embracing the digital assets.

“The Coinbase IPO is a seminal moment for the digital assets industry,” said Pete Cheyne, founder of Bottleypay, a bitcoin-based payments app. “From tomorrow, there is an exchange tradeable instrument for [asset managers] to participate in this paradigm change, and this is having a big impact on Bitcoin’s price.”

The value of the entire cryptocurrency market recently topped $2 trillion for the first time amid other signals that big companies were embracing cryptocurrency.

Publicly traded firms such as Tesla and Twitter have added bitcoin to their corporate balance sheets, while Mastercard, Visa and PayPal have pledged to make it easier to use cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

And banking giants Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are reportedly planning to offer their wealthy clients investment exposure to bitcoin and other digital currencies.

With Post wires