A new wave of institutional interest has boosted bitcoin. Here are the key players getting involved, from JPMorgan to PayPal.

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A growing number of companies are becoming interested in bitcoin.

Bitcoin regained its composure this week to jump to a record high above $60,000, with many analysts pointing to a new wave of institutional interest as the driver.

Goldman Sachs restarting its crypto desk, JPMorgan launching a “crypto exposure” product, and crypto firm NYDIG raising money from Morgan Stanley and others are the latest signs of growing interest in bitcoin.

Skeptics argue that bitcoin is too volatile for investors to start buying in any meaningful quantities and has next to no use value, putting it in line for another collapse.

But a rising number of firms are testing the crypto-waters. Bitcoin enthusiasts argue that “this time is different” for the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, because big-name firms are supporting the price and lending legitimacy to the project.

Here’s a rundown of some of the major players taking steps towards bitcoin.

12 March: MicroStrategy buys another $15 million

Michael Saylor’s business intelligence firm MicroStrategy bought another $15 million worth of bitcoin, it said on Friday. It brought the company’s total holdings to 91,326 units, worth around $5.3 billion on 12 March.

Saylor has long advocated companies investing their cash in the cryptocurrency, and first bought bitcoin in August 2020.

9 March: JPMorgan launches ‘crypto exposure’ product

An SEC filing on Tuesday by the bank showed it is creating a “basket of companies with exposure to cryptocurrency” that will be dominated by MicroStrategy and Square.

JPMorgan will create debt products linked to the performance of the crypto basket, giving investors indirect exposure to the cryptocurrency market.

8 March: NYDIG raises $200 million from big names

Morgan Stanley and Soros Fund Management were among the big names to get behind crypto technology firm NYDIG in a $200 million raise.

7 March: Chinese selfie app Meitu snaps up around $40 million in crypto

The photo-retouching company Meitu, which is hugely popular in China, said it bought about $22.1 million of Ethereum’s cryptocurrency ether and $17.9 million of bitcoin.

1 March: Goldman Sachs relaunches crypto trading desk

Reuters reported that Goldman would restart its crypto desk and begin dealing bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients in March.

The bank’s chief operating officer John Waldron said later in March that “client demand is rising” for bitcoin. And Goldman survey of nearly 300 clients found 40% had exposure to cryptocurrencies.

February 23: Jack Dorsey’s Square buys $170 million more bitcoin

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey’s fintech company Square bought another 3,318 bitcoins for $170 million. That took its holdings to more than 8,000, worth upwards of $450 million on 12 March.

Jack Dorsey
Square founder Jack Dorsey is a crypto-backer.

February 18: First North American bitcoin ETF launches

Canada has now approved 3 bitcoin ETFs, but the US is yet to approve any. Experts say ETFs could spur further rises in the bitcoin price by allowing more institutions to invest.

Canada’s Purpose Bitcoin ETF, the first to launch, had 913 million Canadian dollars ($731 million) under management on 11 March.

February 11: BNY Mellon plans to issue, hold and transfer clients’ bitcoin

Bank of New York Mellon plans to issue, hold, and transfer clients’ bitcoin, The Wall Street Journal reported. America’s oldest bank will soon allow digital currencies to be treated the same as more orthodox investments in its asset-management system.

February 10: Mastercard will allow merchants to accept select cryptocurrencies

Mastercard will begin allowing customers to use some cryptocurrencies on its network later this year, although it did not specify which.

“We are preparing right now for the future of crypto and payments,” Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset products said in a blog.

February 8: Tesla says it invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin

Elon Musk’s Tesla powered a jump in the bitcoin price by announcing it had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin in January. It also said it plans to accept bitcoin as payment.

Some critics said the bet had exposed the automaker to “immense” risks that could hammer its profits if the bitcoin price plunges.

January 21: BlackRock authorizes funds to invest in bitcoin futures

The $8 trillion asset manager BlackRock has authorized two of its funds to invest in bitcoin futures, according to January filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

November 27: Guggenheim reserves right to invest in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust

Guggenheim disclosed in an SEC filing that its Macro Opportunities Fund held the right to invest up to 10% of its net asset value in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.

The Grayscale trust, the world’s biggest bitcoin fund, has become a key way for institutional investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency.

October 21: PayPal announces it will let customers buy and sell bitcoin

PayPal was in many ways a pioneer when it jumped into crypto in October 2020, allowing customers to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other currencies using online wallets.