Bitcoin exploded above $18,000, taking its market capitalization to an all-time high. The price of the digital token surged to $18,605.50 around 10:16 a.m. GMT (+5:45), and its price is up about 154% year-to-date. Bitcoin recorded its highest price ever in December 2017, hitting $19,783.

The digital asset’s market capitalization has hit a new high of $336 billion, eclipsing its previous record of $328 billion set in late 2017, according to data from Coin Gecko.

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“Today bitcoin has gotten to a place where institutional investors, banks, and family offices are legitimately pondering involvement as a defense against currency devaluation,” said Alex Mashinsky, chief executive officer at Celsius Network, a crypto lending platform.

He added that in 2017, the rally in bitcoin was led by retail investors who were early adopters.

“Because large players, like LINE Corp and PayPal are involved this go around, we can expect more stability than the 2017 bubble. This isn’t a gold rush anymore,” he added.

The bitcoin market now boasts a functioning derivatives market and custody services by established financial institutions. Large firms including Fidelity Investments and Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc 8604 have started safeguarding bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies for institutional investors.

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