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NEW YORK: Bitcoin and other crypto currencies took another leap towards the financial mainstream Thursday when Wall Street player BNY Mellon announced plans to accept digital currencies.

BNY Mellon, which is known as the oldest US bank, said it will form a new digital assets unit to transfer, safeguard and issue digital assets in response to client demand.

The move comes as bitcoin values continue to climb to new heights after receiving a legitimacy boost when Tesla and Mastercard announced they would accept the digital currency, even as many regulators remain skeptical of the volatile currency.

BNY Mellon, which was founded by the first US Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1784, described the move as a response to market demand.

"BNY Mellon is proud to be the first global bank to announce plans to provide an integrated service for digital assets," said Roman Regelman, chief executive of asset servicing.

"Growing client demand for digital assets, maturity of advanced solutions, and improving regulatory clarity present a tremendous opportunity for us to extend our current service offerings to this emerging field."

Prices of bitcoin climbed further Thursday, rising to $48,364 at 1320 GMT, a new all-time high.

Electric automaker Tesla, which is led by bitcoin enthusiast Elon Musk, on Monday announced a $1.5 billion investment in the digital money and plans to accept the cryptocurrency from customers purchasing vehicles.

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