Bitcoin storms back from Dip below $10,000


London (Agencies): Bitcoin’s wild start to 2018 turned breakneck on Wednesday, with the largest cryptocurrency plunging below $10,000 for the first time in six weeks before staging a rally to trade virtually unchanged.

The gyrations took the digital token across a trading range of more than $2,600 over 18 hours. Its tumble to a low of $9,186 pushed a monthlong rout past 50 percent and raised the specter that last year’s 1,400 percent rally was giving way to what many considered an inevitable bursting of the bubble.

Bitcoin rebounded $1,600 in the next four hours to trade at $10,780 as of 3:44 p.m. in New York, according to consolidated pricing data collated by Bloomberg.

The drama Wednesday was sparked by increased scrutiny from regulators around the world that spread across the digital-coin realm in recent days, wiping out more than $300 billion in value just since Jan. 13. Bitcoin’s losses reached $140 billion from its record of $19,511 on Dec. 18. It’s still higher by 1,000 percent in the past year.

“Bitcoin was overbought and sentiment was ecstatic,” said Ari Paul, chief investment officer of BlockTower Capital Advisors. “This is an overdue correction triggered by South Korean regulation fears.”

In South Korea, a hotbed of trading, regulators warned they may shut down cryptocurrency exchanges completely after limiting their operations.

China is said to have intensified its curbs on trading of the digital coins, extending restrictions to over-the-counter and peer-to-peer platforms after banning exchanges last year.

In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission asked at least 15 funds to pull applications this month for bitcoin-related exchange-traded funds.

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