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Bitcoin’s stunning gains this year have been driven by its mainstream acceptance as an investment and a means of payment, accompanied by the rush of retail cash into stocks, exchange-traded funds and other risky assets.DADO RUVIC/Reuters

Bitcoin rose above US$60,000 to approach record highs on the weekend, breaking out of a two-week tight range and propelled by talk of constrained new supplies against evidence of wider adoption.

The world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency hit US$61,222.22 on Saturday, its highest in nearly a month. It was slightly lower at US$59,907 at 0500 GMT on Sunday.

Bitcoin is up 116 per cent from the year’s low of US$27,734 on Jan. 4. It crossed the US$60,000 mark for the first time on March 13, hitting a record US$61,781.83 on Bitstamp exchange, just after U.S. President Joe Biden signed his US$1.9-trillion fiscal stimulus package into law.

Justin d’Anethan, sales manager at digital asset company Diginex in Hong Kong, said investors had turned their attention to stock markets and other cryptocurrencies in the past couple of weeks, leaving Bitcoin idling in the upper US$50,000 levels.

“That changed just yesterday when we pierced through 60K. With miners not selling recently minted coins, on-exchange reserves hitting multiyear lows and an incessant stream of corporates, funds, large and small investors piling into BTC, we punched through,” he said.

Bitcoin’s stunning gains this year have been driven by its mainstream acceptance as an investment and a means of payment, accompanied by the rush of retail cash into stocks, exchange-traded funds and other risky assets.

It soared this year as major firms, such as BNY Mellon , asset manager BlackRock Inc. and credit card giant Mastercard Inc. backed cryptocurrencies, while those such as Tesla Inc. , Square Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc. invested in bitcoin.

Big U.S. banks such as Morgan Stanley are also seeking to offer wealth management clients access to bitcoin funds.

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