Business World

Monday 19 February 2018

Bitcoin tumbles to below $10,000 mark as sell-off continues

Bitcoin rose 1pc to $10,831 at 12:20pm in Hong Kong after slumping as much as 26pc Tuesday, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Photo: Reuters
Bitcoin rose 1pc to $10,831 at 12:20pm in Hong Kong after slumping as much as 26pc Tuesday, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Photo: Reuters

Randall Jensen

Bitcoin continues to wobble, trading near $11,000 a day after losing a quarter of its value as traders sought a floor for pricing amid growing concern regulators around the world will move ahead with new rules to restrict the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry.

The largest digital currency rose 1pc to $10,831 at 12:20pm in Hong Kong after slumping as much as 26pc Tuesday, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Rival cryptocurrencies Ripple and Ethereum swung between gains and losses.

"Cryptocurrency holders are trying to decide whether to abandon Bitcoin," Steven Englander, head of research and strategy with Rafiki Capital, said in a January 16 note.

"The dilemma is that once you stop pricing Bitcoin and its derivatives as new assets that will head to the moon, the pricing model is more conventional and much less breathtaking."

At least some retail investors are still trading amid the selloff.

"I have a zen philosophy that you just go with the flow," said George Tasick, a part-time cryptocurrency trader in Hong Kong whose day job is making fireworks. "I'm not really changing my behaviour in any way."

Speculators across the globe are struggling to determine when or how market watchdogs may rein in an industry that's decentralized and derives much of its value from anonymous ownership. Many assertions that digital coins represent a bubble have triggered double-digit selloffs over the past year, only to be followed by rebounds.

In South Korea, shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges is still an option amid ongoing discussions, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in an interview. Kim said there's irrational speculation and that rational regulation was needed.

China, meanwhile, is set to escalate its clampdown on cryptocurrency trading, targeting online platforms and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, according to people familiar with the matter.

In the US, state regulators are becoming more active with BitConnect shuttering its cryptocurrency exchange and lending operation after receiving two cease-and-desist letters from the Texas State Securities Board and North Carolina Secretary of State Securities Division for the unauthorized sale of securities and suffering from denial-of-service attacks.

Bloomberg

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