Electric car company Tesla, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has bought around $1.5bn in Bitcoin, causing the price of the cryptocurrency to rocket.

In a stock market filing published today, Tesla said that in January it “updated its investment policy to provide us with more flexibility to further diversify and maximise returns on our cash”, and invested $1.5bn in Bitcoin and “may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term”.

It went on to say that it expects to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for Tesla products “in the near future”.

As a result, the price of Bitcoin rose by 17% to reach a record high of $44,220, a 300% increase year-on-year.

David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Group, said:

“We’re not surprised to see the headlines around Tesla’s move into Bitcoin and expect 2021 will be a year that many other big names make the official crossover into the space. Bitcoin’s resiliency in 2020 had already set the stage for this next major rotation, with bitcoin finally maturing into an asset capable of satisfying the needs of institutional participants.

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“Institutions are now treating Bitcoin as a treasury asset and it’s inevitable that all corporates will allocate part of their reserves to what is now a proven, robust and value accretive asset. We’d expect corporate treasurers to consider allocating 5% to 10% of reserves to Bitcoin; the growth in LMAX Digital institutional volumes over the past year is testament that is happening now.”

At the beginning of January, the price of Bitcoin price passed $41,000 following a bull run that began in November 2020.

Musk recently changed his Twitter biography to “#bitcoin”, before deleting it. The Tesla CEO also tweeted about cryptocurrency Dogecoin, tweeting “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto” and “No highs, no lows, only Doge”, causing its price to rise by 50%.

Dermot O’Riordan, partner of Eden Block, said:

“The world’s a stage and Bitcoin is no longer a mere player. This moment will likely be looked upon in years to come as a genuine tipping point; Elon and Tesla’s support legitimises crypto and opens up Bitcoin to a whole new class of retail and institutional investors. It’s exciting times for Bitcoin, as well as Ethereum, and the emerging global decentralised financial ecosystem. Now it seems all of Wall Street is in bed with this industry – if they weren’t paying attention before, they are now.”

Read More: Bitcoin price soars past $41,000 in new high.