© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO (Reuters) – traded at $33,176 in Asia on Monday, after soaring to a record high of $34,800 on Sunday as investors continue to bet the digital currency is on its way to becoming a mainstream payment method.

The latest milestone for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency came less than three weeks after it crossed $20,000 for the first time, on Dec. 16, and bitcoin has now surged some 800% since mid-March.

Investors have said limited supply of bitcoin has helped power upward moves over recent days, with some also seeing it as a safe-haven play during the COVID-19 pandemic, akin to gold.

Bitcoin’s potential for quick gains has also attracted demand from larger U.S. investors, as well as from traders who normally stick to equities.

The digital currency trades on numerous exchanges, the largest of which is Coinbase, itself preparing to go public to become the first major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange to list on Wall Street.

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