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Bitcoin: Latest price, news, updates

Latest on Bitcoin, other cryptocurrency

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The latest Bitcoin cyptocurrency news, price, alerts, analysis and updates can be found here.

Bitcoin is a digital currency created and exchanged without the involvement of banks or governments. Transactions allow anonymity, which has made it popular with people who want to keep their financial activity, and their identities, private.

The digital coins are created by so-called “miners”, who operate computer farms that verify other users’ transactions by solving complex mathematical puzzles. These miners receive bitcoin in exchange.

Bitcoin can be converted to cash when deposited into accounts at prices set in online trading.

Here are the latest Bitcoin price and news updates from around the world:

 

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Still getting up to speed on bitcoin? Here’s a quick rundown.

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital currency created and exchanged without the involvement of banks or governments. Transactions allow anonymity, which has made it popular with people who want to keep their financial activity, and their identities, private. The digital coins are created by so-called “miners”, who operate computer farms that verify other users’ transactions by solving complex mathematical puzzles. These miners receive bitcoin in exchange. Bitcoin can be converted to cash when deposited into accounts at prices set in online trading.

Is this bitcoin’s swansong?

Not necessarily. Let’s take a look at recent data: In mid-July the value of bitcoin was around $1,900 per dollar, dropping from nearly $2,500 at the end of June. Users forced a change in the computer code, which was designed to improve capacity on the increasingly clogged network. The maneuver worked, helping to avoid a split in bitcoin and driving the value up to roughly $2,800 by the end of July.

IMF chief tells central bankers to not dismiss bitcoin

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has a message for the world’s central bankers: Don’t be Luddites.

Addressing a conference in London on Friday, Lagarde said virtual currencies, which are created and exchanged without the involvement of banks or government, could in time be embraced by countries with unstable currencies or weak domestic institutions.

“In many ways, virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money,” she said. “The best response by central bankers is to continue running effective monetary policy, while being open to fresh ideas and new demands, as economies evolve.”

The most high-profile of these digital currencies is bitcoin, which like others can be converted to cash when deposited into accounts at prices set in online trading. Its price has been volatile, soaring over recent years but falling sharply earlier this month on reports that China will order all bitcoin exchanges to close and one of the world’s most high-profile investment bankers said bitcoin was a fraud.

For now, Lagarde said, digital currencies are unlikely to replace traditional ones, as they are “too volatile, too risky, too energy intensive and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable.”

High-profile hacks have also not helped, she noted. One notable failure was that of the Mt. Gox exchange in Japan in February 2014, in which about 850,000 bitcoins were lost, possibly to hackers. Following that, Japan enacted new laws to regulate bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

But in time, she argued, technological innovations could address some of the issues that have kept a lid on the appeal of digital currencies.

“Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays, so I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies,” Lagarde said.

Lagarde’s comments appear at odds with the views of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who this month described bitcoin as a fraud and said he’d fire any of his traders if they caught dealing in the digital currency.

In a speech laying out the potential changes wrought by financial innovations, Lagarde also said that over the next generation, “machines will almost certainly play a larger role” in helping policymakers, offering real-time forecasts, spotting bubbles, and uncovering complex financial linkages.

“As one of your fellow Londoners — Mary Poppins — might have said: bring along a pinch of imagination!”

Chinese bitcoin exchange announces it is ending trading

One of China’s biggest bitcoin exchanges says it will end trading after news reports regulators have ordered all Chinese exchanges to close caused the price of the digital currency to plunge.

BTC China said on its website it will “stop all trading business” on Sept. 30. The exchange said it was acting “in the spirit of” a central bank ban last week on initial coin offerings but gave no indication it received a direct order to close.

The central bank has not responded to questions about the currency’s future in China.

There was no immediate word from other Chinese bitcoin exchanges about their plans.

Bitcoin’s value tumbled 15 percent on Thursday to about $3,300. The famously volatile currency has shed about a third of its value since Sept. 1 but is up from about $600 a year ago.

Bitcoin surged in popularity in China last year as its price rose. Trading dwindled after regulators tightened controls and warned the currency might be linked to fraud.

Two business newspapers reported Thursday regulators in Shanghai, the country’s financial center, gave verbal instructions to Chinese bitcoin exchanges to close.

Bitcoin is created and exchanged without the involvement of banks or governments. Transactions allow anonymity, which has made bitcoin popular with people who want to conceal their activity. Bitcoin can be converted to cash when deposited into accounts at prices set in online trading.

A Chinese business news magazine, Caixin, said at one point up to 90 percent of global trading took place in China.

AP Explains: What is bitcoin? A look at the digital currency

 It’s worth more than an ounce of gold right now, it’s completely digital and it’s the currency of choice for the cyberattackers who crippled computer networks around the world in recent days.

When the attackers’ “ransomware” sprang into action, it held victims hostage by encrypting their data and demanding they send payments in bitcoins to regain access to their computers. Bitcoin has a fuzzy history, but it’s a type of currency that allows people to buy goods and services and exchange money without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties.

Here’s a brief look at bitcoin:

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HOW BITCOINS WORK

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is not tied to a bank or government and allows users to spend money anonymously. The coins are created by users who “mine” them by lending computing power to verify other users’ transactions. They receive bitcoins in exchange. The coins also can be bought and sold on exchanges with U.S. dollars and other currencies.

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WHY BITCOINS ARE POPULAR

Bitcoins are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next. Transactions can be made anonymously, making the currency popular with libertarians as well as tech enthusiasts, speculators — and criminals.

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IS IT REALLY ANONYMOUS?

Yes, to a point. Transactions and accounts can be traced, but the account owners aren’t necessarily known. However, investigators might be able to track down the owners when bitcoins are converted to regular currency.

For now, the three accounts tied to the ransomware attack appear untouched — and it’ll be difficult for perpetrators to cash in anytime soon without getting traced.

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HOW MUCH MONEY?

Security experts say the amount of ransom collected so far appears small relative to the extent of the outbreak. Tom Bossert, President Donald Trump’s adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, says it appears less than $70,000 has been paid in ransoms.

It’s possible, though, that there are unknown accounts beyond the three identified.

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WHO’S USING BITCOIN?

Some businesses have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon amid a flurry of media coverage. Overstock.com accepts payments in bitcoin, for example.

The currency has become popular enough that more than 300,000 daily transactions have been occurring recently, according to bitcoin wallet site blockchain.info. A year ago, activity was closer to 230,000 transactions per day.

Still, its popularity is low compared with cash and cards, and many individuals and businesses won’t accept bitcoins for payments.

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HOW BITCOINS ARE KEPT SECURE

The bitcoin network works by harnessing individuals’ greed for the collective good. A network of tech-savvy users called miners keep the system honest by pouring their computing power into a blockchain, a global running tally of every bitcoin transaction. The blockchain prevents rogues from spending the same bitcoin twice, and the miners are rewarded for their efforts by being gifted with the occasional bitcoin. As long as miners keep the blockchain secure, counterfeiting shouldn’t be an issue.

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HOW BITCOIN CAME TO BE

It’s a mystery. Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by a person or group of people operating under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin was then adopted by a small clutch of enthusiasts. Nakamoto dropped off the map as bitcoin began to attract widespread attention. But proponents say that doesn’t matter: The currency obeys its own internal logic.

An Australian entrepreneur last year stepped forward and claimed to be the founder of bitcoin, only to say days later that he did not “have the courage” to publish proof that he is.

South Korea bans raising money through initial coin offerings

South Korea’s financial regulator on Friday said it will ban raising money through all forms of virtual currencies, a move that follows similar restrictions in China on initial coin offerings.


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