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Bitcoin Steady, Ethereum Dips in Quiet Trade

CryptocurrencyJan 15, 2018 05:56AM ET
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© Reuters. Bitcoin steady, ethereum dips in quiet trade

Investing.com - The price of digital currency bitcoin was steady on Monday as it levelled off following last week’s steep declines, while rival ethereum edged lower having hit record highs on Saturday.

Bitcoin was trading at $13,749 by 05:36 AM ET (10:36 AM GMT) on the Bitfinex exchange.

Bitcoin’s market capitalization stood at around $233 billion.

Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was last at $1,319.10 on the Bitfinex exchange after peaking at $1,423.20 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Ripple's XRP token was trading at $1.8 on the Poloniex exchange.

Cryptocurrency prices plunged in a broad based selloff last Thursday following reports that South Korea may be preparing to ban all virtual currency trading in the country.

South Korea’s justice minister said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of virtual currencies on domestic exchanges. The country is one is one of the largest markets for major coins like bitcoin and ethereum.

Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea is highly speculative and digital currencies are often traded at a premium, meaning that they are priced significantly higher in the country's exchanges than elsewhere in the world.

The South Korean government said on Monday that its plans to ban virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized as government agencies were still in talks to decide how to regulate the market.

South Korea’s unease over cryptocurrency trading follows drastic moves taken by China, which shuttered cryptocurrency exchanges last year and is now trying to shut operations that produce bitcoin, a process known as mining.

Elsewhere, the head of Singapore's central bank said on Monday he hoped the technologies underpinning cryptocurrencies such as blockchain would not be undermined by an eventual crash in the digital currency market.

"I do hope when the fever has gone away, when the crash has happened, it will not undermine the much deeper, and more meaningful technology associated with digital currencies and blockchain," said Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Singapore has been positioning itself as a hub for fintech - or financial technology - but has urged "extreme caution" about trading in cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Steady, Ethereum Dips in Quiet Trade
 

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