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Bitcoin starts a new year by tumbling, first time since 2015

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Bitcoin is already having a bad year.

[LOS ANGELES] Bitcoin is already having a bad year.

For the first time since 2015, the cryptocurrency began a new year by tumbling, extending its slide from a record US$19,511 reached on Dec 18.

The virtual coin traded at US$13,440 as at 3.55pm in New York, down 6.1 per cent from Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's also a fall from the US$14,156 it hit Sunday, according to coinmarketcap.com, which tracks daily prices.

Bitcoin got off to a much stronger start last year, and then kept that momentum going, eventually creating a global frenzy for cryptocurrencies. In a sign of its phenomenal price gain in 2017, it rose 3.6 per cent on the first day of 2017 to US$998, data from coinmarketcap.com show. It ended the year up more than 1,300 per cent.

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That rally drew a growing number of competitors and last month brought bitcoin to Wall Street in the form of futures contracts. It reached the Dec 18 peak hours after CME Group Inc debuted its derivatives agreements, which some traders said would encourage short position-taking.

BLOOMBERG