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Bitcoin holds above US$14,000 as investors find a bottom, for now

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Bitcoin appeared to find a bottom above US$14,000 on Friday after moves by South Korea to curb speculation and protect retail customers took the cryptocurrency down more than 8 per cent yesterday.

[HONG KONG] Bitcoin appeared to find a bottom above US$14,000 on Friday after moves by South Korea to curb speculation and protect retail customers took the cryptocurrency down more than 8 per cent yesterday.

Bitcoin was up about 6 per cent at US$14,800 as of 10:14am Hong Kong time, composite Bloomberg pricing showed. The digital currency has slumped about 24 per cent from its record US$19,511 reached on Dec 18, when the CME Group Inc introduced its futures contract.

While bitcoin's debut on regulated derivatives exchanges in Chicago was thought to have given it a new mainstream channel for investors to tap, so far trading volume has been limited.

"Short-term support is about US$13,500 - we've hit that the last couple of trading sessions,"  Chris Gersch, director of strategy at Bell Curve Capital LP in Chicago, said on Bloomberg Television. "Ultimately I think it moves lower and tests last week's lows around US$12,400 in the futures contract."

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The South Korean government has been among the loudest voices of concern about a possible speculative bubble in the largest cryptocurrency, which is still up about 1,400 per cent for the year. The country is something of a bellwether for global demand, with South Koreans paying premiums above 20 per cent over prevailing international rates as of Friday.

BLOOMBERG