Bitcoin slides by over $1,000 in less than 48 hours

Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins placed on Dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration picture on November 6, 2017. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)
Updated 10 November 2017
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Bitcoin slides by over $1,000 in less than 48 hours

LONDON: Bitcoin dropped below $7,000 on Friday to trade more than $1,000 down from an all-time high hit on Wednesday, as some traders dumped it for a clone called Bitcoin Cash, sending its value up around a third.
Bitcoin has been on a tear in recent months, with a vertiginous sevenfold increase in value since the start of the year that has led to many warnings the bitcoin market — now worth well over $100 billion — has become a bubble that is about to burst.
It reached a record high of $7,888 around 1800 GMT on Wednesday after a software upgrade planned for next week that could have split the cryptocurrency in a so-called “fork” was suspended.
But it has quickly retreated from that peak, falling to as low as $6,718 around 1330 GMT on Friday. It later recovered a touch to trade around $6,880 by 1645 GMT, but that was still down almost 4 percent on the day.
“Bitcoin is all ups and downs,” said Thomas Bertani, chief executive of Eidoo, a cryptocurrency wallet provider that recently became the first startup in the space to take out a full-page advert in the Wall Street Journal newspaper.
“The market realized that the price rise was an over-reaching, so people started selling... (and) there are many long and short positions that amplify price movements.”
As bitcoin tumbled, Bitcoin Cash, which was generated from another software split on Aug.1, surged, trading up as much as 35 percent on the day to around $850, according to industry website Coinmarketcap.
Bitcoin Cash’s transactions are processed in so-called “blocks” that are larger in capacity than bitcoin’s, so can therefore in theory allow for more transactions to be processed at any given time, making transaction fees much cheaper.
The fork that had been planned for next week, known as “SegWit2x,” had also intended to increase the capacity of the blocks, and could thus have reduced fees for bitcoin transactions.
Any investors, therefore, that see bitcoin more as a currency than a store of value might be choosing to buy into Bitcoin Cash now that Segwit2x had been scrapped, Bertani said.
“People who had been supporting Segwit2x could as an alternative move to Bitcoin Cash,” he said.
“There are good reasons to believe that Bitcoin Cash could be an alternative for people who believe that low fees on bitcoin transactions are needed today.”


Oil prices gain on lower US crude inventories, Libyan output disruption

Updated 20 June 2018
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Oil prices gain on lower US crude inventories, Libyan output disruption

SINGAPORE: Oil prices recovered some day-earlier losses in Asia on Wednesday, supported by a drop in US commercial crude inventories and the loss of storage capacity in oil producer Libya.
US crude inventories fell by 3 million barrels to 430.6 million barrels in the week to June 15, according to American Petroleum Institute (API) in a weekly report on Tuesday.
Brent crude futures rose 18 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $75.26 per barrel at 0351 GMT, compared with their last close on Tuesday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $65.27.
Traders said a drop in Libyan supplies due to the collapse of an estimated 400,000-barrel storage tank also helped push up prices.
Looming larger over markets, however, is a June 22 meeting in Vienna of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with some other producers, including Russia, to discuss supply.
De-facto OPEC leader and top crude exporter Saudi Arabia, as well as Russia, which is not a member of the cartel but is the world’s biggest oil producer, are pushing to loosen supply controls introduced in 2017 to prop up prices.
Other OPEC-members, including Iran, are against such a move, fearing a sharp slump in prices.
“Saudi Arabia and Russia continued to push for a relaxation in production constraints, going against many other members’ wishes,” ANZ bank said on Wednesday.
“Iran rejected a potential compromise, saying it won’t support even a small increase in oil production. This puts Saudi Arabia in a tough position, as unanimity is needed for any accord to be reached,” it added.
Jack Allardyce, oil-and-gas research analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, said he had the “expectation that supply quotas will be increased, but probably more in line with the smaller range being quoted (300,000-600,000 barrels per day) given the lack of consensus among OPEC members.”
Allardyce said “we could see this knocking $5 per barrel off Brent and perhaps squeezing the WTI discount a little.”
Markets are also anxiously watching trade tensions between the United States and China, in which both sides have threatened to impose stiff duties on each other’s exports, including US crude oil.
A 25 percent tariff on US crude oil imports, as threatened by China in retaliation for duties Washington has announced but not yet implemented against Chinese products, would make American crude uncompetitive in China versus other supplies.
This would almost certainly lead to a sharp drop-off in Chinese purchases of US crude, which have boomed in the last two years to a business now worth around $1 billion per month.