A pullback in prices of bitcoin deepened on Thursday, falling over 16 percent to below US$11,000 after jumping to an 18-month high of nearly US$14,000 earlier this week amid optimism about the widening usage of digital currencies, Reuters reports.
The world’s biggest cryptocurrency has surged in value since April and has risen more than 260 percent, but it remains below its all-time high of nearly US$20,000 hit in December 2017.
At 1:43 p.m. EDT (1743 GMT), bitcoin was down 16.13 percent at US$10,836.42 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.
Facebook’s announcement that it would offer its own cryptocurrency Libra has revived interest in digital currencies, analysts said.
Investors seeking an alternative asset to gold and US bonds as a safe haven due to worries about weakening global growth also helped contribute to bitcoin’s rally, they said.
In Iran, meanwhile, authorities have seized about 1,000 bitcoin mining machines in two abandoned factories, state television reported, after warnings that the activity had led to a spike in the consumption of government-subsidized electricity.
“Two of these bitcoin farms have been identified, with a consumption of one megawatt,” Arash Navab, a power official in the central province of Yazd, told the television.
The machines, which produce cryptocurrencies that are banned in Iran, were mostly to blame for a 7 percent increase in power consumption in the month to June 21, according to an Energy Ministry spokesman, quoted by the website of state-run Press TV.
In 2018, Iran’s central bank banned the country’s banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, over money-laundering concerns.
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