Bitcoin suffers dramatic price plunge in Asia

TOKYO: Bitcoin prices plunged about 15 percent in Asian trade yesterday before recouping some of the losses as investors apparently took fright at news that a South Korean exchange had been hacked. The unit, which hit a record $19,500 at the start of the week, took a hit as it emerged that South Korean exchange Youbit had been hacked, leading the firm to say it will close and start bankruptcy proceedings, according to Bloomberg News.

Separately, US authorities on Tuesday suspended trading in a popular Bitcoin-related stock, citing concerns about market manipulation. The Crypto Company’s share price had risen 1,700 percent between the end of September and Monday evening before the Securities Exchange Commission intervened to halt trades until January 4.

“Both the news of South Korea’s exchange having been hacked and position adjustment following recent rallies affected the market today,” Raita Yamaguchi, senior consultant at Nomura Research Institute, told AFP. However, “the weight of South Korea as a Bitcoin market is not that big,” he added.

Bitcoin dropped to $15,815.78 in early Tokyo trade from $18,000 Tuesday evening, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The crypto currency recovered to around $16,000 in early afternoon trade in Tokyo. Bitcoin has soared almost 20-fold since the start of the year and this month saw it move into the mainstream as two major US exchanges began trading futures in the unit.

The US Securities Exchange Commission on Tuesday suspended trading of a popular bitcoin related stock that has soared in recent weeks, citing concerns about market manipulation.
The Crypto Company’s share price had risen an eye-watering 1,700 percent, from $3.30 to $575 between the end of September and Monday evening before the SEC intervened to halt trades until January 4. A statement cited “concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace about, among other things, the compensation paid for promotion of the company, and statements in Commission filings about the plans of the company’s insiders to sell their shares of The Crypto Company’s common stock.

“Questions have also arisen concerning potentially manipulative transactions in the company’s stock in November 2017,” it added. The firm describes itself as a service to provide institutions and individuals “direct exposure to the growth of global blockchain developments.” Blockain is the technology behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin. It is a digital ledger stored across a network of computers without the need for a central authority, a mechanism which protects it from tampering. All transactions are listed publicly. Bitcoin is currently highly speculative on the market and its price has risen in the space of a few months from a few hundred dollars to around $17,800 currently. -AFP


This article was published on 20/12/2017