FTSE 100 latest: Bitcoin breaks $60,000 barrier in run-up to Coinbase float

he countdown to the hotly-anticipated Wall Street debut of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase set the tone for bitcoin to establish a foothold above $60,000 today.

Bitcoin’s backers expect Wednesday’s Coinbase IPO on Nasdaq to provide the digital currency with another layer of credibility, having already benefited this year from the decision of Tesla CEO Elon Musk to hold it as a reserve asset.

Bitcoin traded at $60,672 today for a valuation of $1.1 trillion after lifting as high as $61,222 over the weekend to within sight of last month’s all-time high of $61,781.

Bitcoin could hit $400,000 this year as inflation fears fuel rally in cryptocurrency
Bitcoin could hit $400,000 this year as inflation fears fuel rally in cryptocurrency
It was $20,000 as recently as December, but the currency’s perceived appeal as a hedge against the inflation that could follow massive government stimulus efforts in the United States has meant it is increasingly being considered by larger institutions.

Bloomberg analysis last week suggested the digital currency could be on track for $400,000 this year if it follows the trends seen in 2013 when it surged by 55 times, and 2017 where its value shot up 17-fold. The latter period, however, was followed by a 70% crash to continue a history of fluctuating price movements.

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Swissquote Bank senior analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya believes the Coinbase debut will be significant for bitcoin sentiment. She added: “The first crypto-exchange IPO could consolidate the idea of inclusion of cryptocurrencies in the traditional financial avenues.”

The mood for more conventional assets in London was subdued as the FTSE 100 index gave up its recent pursuit of the 7,000 barrier to fall back 54.76 points to 6,860.62.

Stocks associated with the re-opening trade were among the top flight’s biggest fallers.

Next fell 3% to 8,038p, having risen to a record on optimism ahead of today’s resumption of high street trading, while Primark owner Associated British Foods fell 71p to 2,413p.

Sentiment was impacted by a weak session in Asia after Chinese internet giant Alibaba’s £2 billion fine from regulators for abusing its market dominance raised jitters in the tech sector about the potential for other large antitrust penalties.

Fresh from surging to a record high last week, the mid-cap FTSE 250 index retreated 95.75 points to 22,154.75.

Fallers included easyJet, down 21.4p to 951.4p after HSBC removed its “buy” recommendation and cut its target price on the airline stock to 1,050p.


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