Bitcoin plunges in biggest intraday drop since February

Singapore

BITCOIN plunged the most in more than seven weeks, just days after reaching a record.

The biggest crypto coin fell 8.5 per cent to US$55,810.32 as at 2.52pm in Singapore on Sunday, after declining as much as 15.1 per cent to US$51,707.51. Ether, the second-largest token, fell almost 18 per cent before paring losses.

Several online reports attributed the plunge to speculation that the US Treasury may crack down on money laundering that's carried out through digital assets.

Bitcoin hit a record high of US$64,869.78 last week ahead of the debut trade for the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc on the Nasdaq last Wednesday. The original crypto coin, Bitcoin is valued at more than US$1 trillion after a more than 800 per cent surge in the past year.

Growing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies has spurred Bitcoin's rally, as well as lifted other tokens to record highs. Interest in crypto went on the rise again after companies from PayPal to Square

started enabling transactions in Bitcoin on their systems, and Wall Street firms like Morgan Stanley began providing access to the tokens to some of the wealthiest clients.

That's despite lingering concerns over their volatility and usefulness as a method of payment. Dogecoin, a token created as a joke and which has been boosted by the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Cuban, rallied more than 110 per cent last Friday before dropping the next day. Demand was so brisk for the token that investors trying to trade it on Robinhood crashed the site, the online exchange said in a blog post Friday.

Crypto firms are beefing up their top ranks to shape the emerging regulatory environment and tackle lingering scepticism about digital tokens. Bitcoin's most ardent proponents see it as a modern day store of value and inflation hedge, while others fear that a speculative bubble is building. BLOOMBERG

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