HONG KONG: Bitcoin bulls are seeking support at the $6,000 price level after the battered digital currency dropped below that threshold for the first time since February over the weekend.
The biggest cryptocurrency rose less than 1% from its Friday close to $6,103 as of 8:44 am in New York, according to composite Bloomberg pricing. It slumped to as low as $5,780 on Sunday, breaching the previous 2018 nadir set in February, according to weekend Bitstamp prices. Rival coins including Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin were little changed.
Bitcoin has tumbled more than 55% this year as regulators spanning the globe step up scrutiny of what critics have criticized as a vehicle for fraud. A series of hacks, including a $500 million theft at a Japanese exchange in January and incidents in South Korea since then, have undermined confidence in the security of the digital currency.
In one of the latest flaps, private data including coin-wallet addresses and passwords for 19 clients were posted on a Kakao group chat on June 22, Kim Moon-hyung, an official with South Korean exchange Bitkoex, said Monday by phone. The official said there were no financial losses from the leak.
Last week’s volatility came after the Bank for International Settlements continued its critique of digital currencies. Many of them should be regulated like stocks and bonds, according to the research head of the BIS, which serves as a clearinghouse and discussion forum for central banks.
On Friday, Japan’s Financial Services Agency ordered six of the country’s biggest crypto-trading venues to improve measures to prevent money laundering. The companies must submit their plans by July 23. New pressure in Japan, one of the most crypto-friendly jurisdictions, demonstrated the market’s fragility to regulatory moves in the absence of much positive news.
The weekend slump took Bitcoin as low as $5,780 on Sunday, according to Bitstamp, one of the many price sources for cryptocurrencies, which have no unified quotation system. Bloomberg’s composite pricing system includes Bitstamp and several other sources.