Bitcoin trades near Sunday record

Investors kept betting Monday (January 4) that Bitcoin was on its way to becoming a mainstream asset.

It traded at close to $33,400 in Asia in early trade, after it reached a record high of $34,800 on Sunday.

The latest milestone for the world's most popular cryptocurrency came less than three weeks after it crossed $20,000 for the first time.

Overall, since March, bitcoin has surged 800% in value.

Some investors see bitcoin as a hedge against the risk of inflation as global authorities turn on the stimulus taps to cope with the economic damage of the health crisis.

Others see it as a safe-haven asset similar to gold.

Bitcoin's growth also reflects expectations it will become a mainstream payment method, with PayPal opening its network to cryptocurrencies.

Larger U.S. traders are also drawn to the idea of quick gains.

Bitcoins trade on a number of exchanges - one of the largest is Coinbase, which is preparing to go public.

If it goes ahead, it would become the first major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange to list on Wall Street.

It's not just Bitcoin that has hit record highs either.

The second biggest cryptocurrency Ethereum shot to a record of just over $1000 on Sunday.