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Cryptocurrency rivals snap at Bitcoin’s heels

WASHINGTON: Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting. Dozens of crypto units see the light of day every week, as baffled financial experts look on, and while none can match Bitcoin's $200-billion euro ($242 bilion) market capitalisation, several have left the media darling's profitability in the dust. In fact, bitcoin is not even in the top 10 of the crypto world's best performers.…

South Korea plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, rattles market

SEOUL: South Korea’s government said on Thursday it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion. The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year. Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was…

Egypt’s Grand Mufti issues fatwa against Bitcoin – Here’s what he says

CAIRO: Egypt's grand mufti has said that bitcoin is forbidden in Islam, warning the digital currency could be used for criminal purposes. Bitcoin, launched in 2009 and based on a peer-to-peer payment system, poses "high risks to individuals and states," Shawqi Allam said in a published ruling. It could provide "stable and secure financial resources for terrorists and criminal groups," said Allam, who acts as the country's official interpreter of Islamic law. Minting and issuing currency is an "absolute right" of…

Bitcoin falls as South Korea plans digital currency crackdown

TOKYO: Bitcoin fell more than 11 percent after South Korea said on Thursday it would ban anonymous trading of virtual currencies and crack down on money laundering activities using them. The announcement came as the hyper-wired South emerged as a hotbed for cryptocurrency trading, accounting for some 20 percent of global bitcoin transactions -- about 10 times the country's share of the world economy. The new rules announced by Seoul include a ban on opening anonymous cryptocurrency accounts and new legislation to allow…

Bitcoin rises 10 percent, recovers from last week’s massive slump

SINGAPORE/TOKYO: Bitcoin extended its recovery in holiday-thinned trading on Tuesday, rising 10 percent to be up more than a third from last week’s lows of below $12,000. Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, fell nearly 30 percent at one stage on Friday to $11,159.93 and, despite a late recovery, had its worst week since 2013. At 0445 GMT on Tuesday, it was quoted around $15,049 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange. The digital currency had risen around twentyfold since the start of the…

‘Virtual gold’ may glitter, but mining it can be really dirty

As the poster child for the growing ranks of computer-generated currencies, bitcoin's recent stratospheric price rises have propelled it from the chat forum-hosted depths of nerddom into the global consciousness. As it rose from under $1,000 to over $19,500 at one point this year, hordes of tech-savvy punters have rushed in to buy, while any investors can now do the same on the US futures markets. Bitcoin has been called virtual gold, in part because it is created in a process that insiders call mining. And like real…

Israel regulator seeks to ban bitcoin firms from stock exchange

JERUSALEML: Israel’s markets regulator said on Monday he will propose regulation to ban companies based on bitcoin and other digital currencies from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). Shmuel Hauser, the chairman of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA), told the Calcalist business conference he will bring the proposal to the ISA board next week. If approved, it would be subject to a public hearing and then the TASE bylaws would need to be amended. “If we have a company that their main business is digital…

Bitcoin plunges below $13,000, heads for worst week since 2013

NEW YORK: Bitcoin plunged below $13,000 (£10,970) on Friday after losing around a third of its value in just five days, with the digital currency on track for its worst week since 2013 after a blistering ascent to a peak close to $20,000 on Sunday. The biggest and best-known cryptocurrency had seen a staggering twentyfold increase since the start of the year, climbing from less than $1,000 to as high as $19,666 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange  on Sunday and to over $20,000 on other exchanges. But bitcoin has…

Belarus adopts crypto-currency law to attract foreign investors

MINSK: Belarus has legalised transactions in crypto-currencies, part of a drive to foster private sector growth and attract foreign investment by liberalising parts of its Soviet-style economy. President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree on the move on Thursday, his press service said. Bitcoin, the world's most popular crypto-currency, has lost a third of its value since hitting a record high of close to $20,000 (14.952) on Sunday, but its supporters dismiss warnings over volatility and say it is the start of a new…

Bitcoin suffers dramatic price plunge in Asia

TOKYO: Bitcoin prices plunged about 15 percent in Asian trade Wednesday before recouping some of the losses as investors apparently took fright at news that a South Korean exchange had been hacked. The unit, which hit a record $19,500 at the start of the week, took a hit as it emerged that South Korean exchange Youbit had been hacked, leading the firm to say it will close and start bankruptcy proceedings, according to Bloomberg News. Separately, US authorities on Tuesday suspended trading in a popular Bitcoin-related…