Bitcoin hits six-month high as investors warm to risk

LONDON, Feb 16 — Bitcoin touched a six-month high today, swept higher with equities and other relatively risky assets as investors gained confidence in the economic outlook and dismissed concern about regulatory scrutiny of the sector.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency reached US$24,895 (RM109,638) today, its highest since August 2022, after jumping 9.5 per cent yesterday. It was last at US$24,400.

Bitcoin has risen nearly 50 per cent so far this year from around US$16,500, where it languished in early January bruised by the collapse of major crypto exchange FTX and a sell-off in many assets caused by global central banks raising interest rates aggressively.

Other than during crypto-specific events, such as regulatory changes and collapses of major industry players, larger cryptocurrencies have traded in a similar manner to other assets considered risky, especially in economically uncertain times, such as equities.

Global stocks rose on Thursday as economic data from around the world drove hopes the economy might face a softer landing than feared a few months ago, even as interest rates threaten to remain higher for longer than expected.

“Bitcoin bolted past US$24,000 for the first time in two weeks after surging more than 8 per cent over the past 24 hours. The asset had dropped below US$21,600 in recent days amid growing anxiety about crypto regulation and future Fed moves to tame inflation, but those concerns seemed to fade quickly,” crypto investment platform Q9 Capital said in a note on Thursday.

On Monday, in the latest regulatory challenge for the crypto sector, Paxos Trust Company the firm behind leading exchange Binance’s stablecoin said the US Securities and Exchange Commission told the company it should have registered the product as a security and is considering taking action against the platform. — Reuters


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