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Bitcoin Tops $50,000 For The First Time Amid Renewed Digital Currency Surge

Bitcoin, which was once traded at 10,000 for two pizzas, topped $50,000 each Tuesday, extending its 2021 gains past 70%.

Bitcoin prices topped $50,000 for the first time Tuesday, extending the cryptocurrency's year-to-date gains past 70% as investors continue to normalize digital currency holdings.

Bitcoin was marked just over the $50,000 mark on the Coinbase exchange in early Tuesday trading, hitting the benchmark price just two months after topping $20,000 for the first time in mid- January. Tuesday's move lifts the so-called "market cap" for Bitcoin -- its collective value -- to around $922 billion. 

Bitcoin prices have risen some 70% so far this year, with around 30% of that gain coming in the wake of Tesla Inc.  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report announcement last week that it has invested around $1.5 billion of its cash pile into the world's biggest and most active cryptocurrency. The clean-energy carmaker also said it would soon accept Bitcoin as payment on some of its products.

Tesla's move, while not the first investment from a corporate treasury, is certainly one of the most significant and echoes a broader acceptance of Bitcoin as a traditional asset class. 

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Analysts have also noted that the cryptocurrency's rise has been fueled not only by retail investors and traditional digital coin speculators, but also by a concerted shift of cash from institutional funds. 

In fact, this month's Global Fund Managers' Survey from Bank of America noted that 'long Bitcoin' is considered one of the most crowded trades in the market, alongside dollar shorts and long positions in U.S. tech stocks.

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust  (GBTC) - Get Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Report, the cryptocurrency's biggest trust provider and a benchmark for tracking institutional investor activity, is up 231% over the past six months and has assets of more than $33.5 billion.