Bitcoin on the brink of fresh year high following PayPal embrace

Vildana Hajric

Bitcoin approached a high for the year after PayPal Holdings Inc. announced it will allow customers to use cryptocurrencies.

The largest cryptocurrency gained as much as 4% to $12,381 Wednesday, just below the high of $12,473 set in August. PayPal customers can use select cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin on the platform.

Mike Novogratz, who runs Galaxy Investment Partners, on Twitter called it “the biggest news of the year in crypto,” adding that banks will embark on a race to service digital currencies.

The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, which tracks some of the largest digital coins, also advanced, rising as much as 3.6%. Peer coins including Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin each gained at least 5%.

Bitcoin’s been on a hot streak this month, rising more than 15% so far in October. Crypto fans cite a number of new recent developments, including signs of greater main-street acceptance. PayPal plans to expand the feature to Venmo.

Dan Schulman, the firm’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that “the shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly.”

Earlier this year, Fidelity Investments launched a Bitcoin fund and two public companies – Square Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc. – said they invested in the coin.