Bitcoin pulls back from brink of $50,000


A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Bitcoin pulled back from a record high on Monday and other cryptocurrencies slipped, as investors took profits from a record-breaking rally that had pushed bitcoin close to $50,000.

Bitcoin fell as much as 5.6% to $45,914 in Asian trading hours after having posting a record peak of $49,714.66 on Sunday, while rival crypto ethereum slid more than 8%.

Once on the fringes of finance, bitcoin is fast gaining legitimacy as an asset class and has leapt 20% in the week since electric carmaker Tesla Inc announced it had $1.5 billion in bitcoin and would accept the currency as payment.

It is up more than 60% for the year to date and has gained more than 1,100% since hitting a one-year low last March.

"There's this unadulterated wave of big players (buying) that has continued to push the price higher," said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone. "We might be seeing one or two big funds just cashing out," he said.

"The big question is: OK, you want to buy the pullback, but how big is the pullback that we are talking about?"

Besides Tesla's investment, Bank of NY Mellon last week said it formed a new unit to help clients own and trade digital assets.

Bloomberg reported on Saturday that Morgan Stanley's investment arm is weighing a bet on bitcoin.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Kim Coghill and Sam Holmes)

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