Bitcoin reached a new high, surpassing $66,000 for the first time, as hopes for broader popular acceptance grew in the aftermath of the successful launch of the first exchange-traded fund for US investors.

While the historically volatile digital currency spent recent days hovering in a narrow range as it approached its previous April high, the vault above happened much faster: the price increased by more than a thousand dollars in a minute just after the opening of stock exchanges in the United States. In the little more than a decade history of cryptocurrency trading, big changes connected to important chart levels have been a typical occurrence.

“It’s a validating moment,” said Jesse Proudman, co-founder and chief executive at Makara, a crypto advisory firm. “It’s no longer a question of does this asset class continue to exist -- I think that’s a really meaningful mark in the history of the broader digital-asset class.”

Bitcoin has reached a new high amidst a flood of pandemic-era liquidity, speculative bets, and prospects of further institutional use. The ride was bumpy: in June, the token fell below $30,000 because to criticism of its energy consumption and China's cryptocurrency crackdown. It subsequently began to recover partially as the crypto sector responded to China's broadsides.

Despite all of the price volatility, many Wall Street insiders remain sceptical of Bitcoin's significance in finance. Securities regulators are stepping up their scrutiny of cryptocurrency, with the U.S. government effectively blocking a Bitcoin lending program at Coinbase Global Inc. Critics have also cast doubt on claims the asset’s scarcity makes it a long-term store of value and note its slow uptake as a unit of exchange.

Bitcoin rose 4.1% to $66,722 as of 10:45 a.m. in New York, bringing its gain for the year to almost 130%. The largest digital currency by market gained more than 300% last year and 95% in 2019, after tumbling 73% the previous year.