Business & Finance

Bitcoin hovers near $6,000 after low hit in a quarter

Bitcoin traded above $6,000 Monday morning after dropping below that exact level for the first time since February over the weekend, with the digital currency heading for a second quarterly decline.

The cryptocurrency was trading at $6,148.22 at 2:23 p.m. in Hong Kong, up 1.3 percent from its Friday close. It slumped to as low as $5,780 on Sunday, breaching the previous 2018 set in February, according to Bitstamp prices. Rival coins continue to trade lower, the data show.

Bitcoin has tumbled more than 50 percent this year as regulators spanning the globe step up scrutiny of what some 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 have undermined confidence in the security of the digital currency.

In one of the latest mishaps, 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. The official said there were no financial losses from the leak.

Sunday’s volatility came as the Bank of International Settlements, which serves as a clearinghouse and research and discussion forum for central banks, continued its critique of digital currencies. The BIS’s head of research said many cryptocurrencies should be regulated like stocks and bonds.

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. A 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 major price sources for cryptocurrencies, which have no unified quotation system. Bloomberg’s composite pricing system includes Bistamp and several other sources.

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