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Exchanges Suspend Trading Amidst Bitcoin Sell-Off

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Coinbase was one of three exchanges that suspended Bitcoin trading on Friday as the cryptocurrency lost about one-third of its value

Bitcoin (c) virtualmage, ShutterstockThree exchanges temporarily halted trading related to Bitcoin last week amidst heavy trading in the currency, which lost almost a third of its value on Friday.

The losses followed steep gains in the value of Bitcoin since the beginning of this year and has more than doubled in value since November.

The cyrptocurrency, which is not regulated and is not backed by any government, started the year at around $1,000 (£747), but reached a record of nearly $20,000 earlier this month.

But last week Bitcoin, along with other digital currencies, dipped below $11,000 before recovering to more than $13,000, or about its level at the beginning of December.

Volatility

Heavy trading in the currency saw Coinbase, one of its larger exchanges, shut down all buying and selling for about two hours on Friday. Coinbase said the shutdown was due to technical issues triggered by high traffic.

The exchange has had to stop trading of particular cryptocurrencies including Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin over the course of this month, due to heavy trading amidst volatility.

Also on Friday, the US’ CME and CBOE exchanges temporarily suspended some trading in Bitcoin futures contracts, which began earlier in December.

The sharp rise in value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this year has drawn the interest of both private investors and large firms.

But regulators have hastened to remind traders of the dangers of buying into the currencies, with the governor of Denmark’s central bank last week calling Bitcoin a “deadly” gamble.

Earlier this month Andrew Bailey, head of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, told the BBC he did not consider Bitcoin a secure investment, with neither central banks nor governments standing behind it.

He said buyers should be ready to “lose all their money” if they invested in it.

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