Date
17 August 2018
J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, speaks during a Senate banking committee hearing in Washington DC on Tuesday. The panel is looking into issues related to regulation of virtual currencies. Photo: Bloomberg
J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, speaks during a Senate banking committee hearing in Washington DC on Tuesday. The panel is looking into issues related to regulation of virtual currencies. Photo: Bloomberg

Bitcoin bounces back from three-month low in choppy trade

Bitcoin bounced back from three-month lows on Tuesday, moving past US$8,000 at one point during the day before settling below that level in volatile trading.

On the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, the virtual currency hit a high of US$8,150 after earlier slipping below US$6,000, Reuters reports.

According to Coindesk data, the crypto unit is currently at around US$7,590.

Bitcoin got pummeled recently amid worries over a potential global regulatory clampdown and announcements by major US banks that they were banning the use of credit cards for crypto currency purchases.

A major selloff in equity markets added to the risk-off mood among investors in the past few days. The digital currency has fallen about 70 percent from its peak of almost US$20,000 in December.

Last year, it gained more than 1,300 percent.

Tuesday’s recovery came even as a US Senate panel was conducting a hearing on virtual currencies, during which J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and Jay Clayton, chairman at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), testified.

The Senate is examining the role of the SEC and CFTC in regulating virtual currencies.

Other digital currencies also rose after posting steep losses the last few weeks. Ethereum was up 10.7 percent over the past 24 hours, while Ripple edged up nearly 6 percent, Reuters reported, citing data from cryptocurrency tracker coinmarketcap.com.

“Crypto is alive and well,” said Matthew Roszak, co-founder and chairman of US blockchain technology company Bloq.

“This whole thing is a movie. It’s not a static feature. We will see continued investment, continued adoption, inspiring developers. This is the real thing,” he told Reuters.

US regulators may ask Congress to pass legislation to improve oversight of virtual currencies like bitcoin amid concerns about the risks posed by the emerging asset class, Clayton said on Tuesday.

Cryptocurrency backers say short-term price volatility is to be expected for a new market.

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CG/RC

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