“Bitcoin (BTC-USD) touched new highs on Thursday, as both Mastercard and BNY Mellon signalled their support for the cryptocurrency.
After surging past the $48,000 (£34,681) mark to a record high, it pared back some gains but was still trading more than 5% higher at $47,901.41 at around 3.30pm in London (10.30am eastern time in the US).
It came as BNY Mellon, the oldest bank in the US, confirmed it had created a new unit for clients to hold, transfer and issue digital assets.
Roman Regelman, head of asset servicing and digital at BNY Mellon, highlighted “growing client demand for digital assets” as well as “improving regulatory clarity.” It marked a “tremendous opportunity for us to extend our current service offerings to this emerging field,” he added.
Mastercard had announced only a day earlier it would start directly supporting some cryptocurrencies on its network. “Doing this work will create a lot more possibilities for shoppers and merchants,” said its head of blockchain, digital assets and partnerships Raj Dhamodharan in a statement.
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“Whatever your opinions on cryptocurrencies — from a dyed-in-wool fanatic to utter sceptic — the fact remains that these digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world.
“We are seeing this fact play out on the Mastercard network, with people using cards to buy crypto assets, especially during bitcoin’s recent surge in value. We are also seeing users increasingly take advantage of crypto cards to access these assets and convert them to traditional currencies for spending.”