Business

Bitcoin rises 10%, recovers from last week’s brutal sell-off

SINGAPORE/TOKYO Bitcoin extended its recovery in holiday-thinned trading yesterday, rising 10 per cent to be up more than a third from last week's lows of below US$12,000 (S$16,000).

Bitcoin fell nearly 30 per cent at one stage on Friday to US$11,159.93 and, despite a late recovery, had its worst week since 2013. At 8.45pm Singapore time yesterday, it was quoted at around US$15,049 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

The digital currency had risen around twentyfold since the start of the year, climbing from less than US$1,000 to as high as US$19,666 on Dec 17 on Bitstamp and to over US$20,000 on other exchanges, but it has posted heavy declines since.

While bitcoin investors and analysts believe the decline in its value was a natural correction after a heady run-up in prices, there have been further warnings from market regulators and central banks.

"There is no right current price which would reflect the right current valuation," said Mr Andrei Popescu, Singapore-based co-founder of COSS, which describes itself as a platform that encompasses all features of a digital economy based on cryptocurrency.

"Taking profit is right, while buying into a long-term projection is also right. You do not have to be right in this market, just less wrong than the rest," Mr Popescu said.

Mr Shmuel Hauser, chairman of the Israel Securities Authority, said on Monday he will propose regulation to ban companies based on bitcoin and other digital currencies from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Singapore's central bank last week issued a warning against investment in cryptocurrencies.

Prices of rival cryptocurrencies, which slid along with bitcoin last week, have also recovered, with Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market size, quoted around US$771, up from Sunday's low of US$689 but still far from highs around US$900 hit last week. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE