NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bitcoin rose to a six-week high on Tuesday on positive headlines that included the possible entry of major financial institutions into the space, lifting sentiment on the overall cryptocurrency market.

FILE PHOTO: A token of the virtual currency Bitcoin is seen placed on a monitor that displays binary digits in this illustration picture, December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic//File Photo

The virtual currency gained after a brutal 50 percent loss in the first quarter of the year, following a nearly 1,400 percent surge in 2017.

On Tuesday, bitcoin climbed in six of the last seven sessions. It was last up 4.4 percent at $9,340.88 BTC=BTSP on the Bitstamp platform.

Bitcoin’s gains also increased demand for other cryptocurrencies such as ripple and ethereum, pushing the market capitalization of all digital currencies to $427 billion, according to cryptocurrency tracker coinmarketcap.com. That is the largest market cap since early March.

“The space has remained relatively stable over the past several weeks and crypto markets are reacting with resilience as people start to gain a more nuanced understanding of the long-term potential of blockchain technology,” said Rob Viglione, co-founder of ZenCash, a coin that promises privacy for borderless, decentralized communications and transactions.

Blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions, underpins cryptocurrencies in general and can be used to track, record, and transfer assets across all industries.

News that major financial institutions are becoming more bullish about the space has also bolstered the confidence of retail investors, Viglione added.

Numerous media outlets reported that Goldman Sachs [GSGSC.UL] enlisted Justin Schmidt, a former trader, to be the first head of digital asset markets in the company’s securities division. Reports also said Barclays PLC [BARCR.UL] has been gauging interest from its clients about launching a cryptocurrency

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