Bitcoin off record highs, falling 7 percent in volatile trade

LONDON: Bitcoin fell as much as 7 percent against the dollar on Tuesday as the new currency was back to its volatile self after scaling a record high earlier in the day.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency was down 6per percent at US $ 18,500 from 1241 GMT. The fall in prices in bitcoin, which some investors considered an evolutionary safe haven, coincided with a 1.6 percent spot gold rise.

Smaller ethereum and XRP coins, which often move alongside bitcoin, fell 7.3per percent and 8.8per percent, respectively.

Bitcoin has gained 160 percent this year, driven by demand for riskier assets amid unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, hunger for assets considered to be inflation-resistant, and expectations that cryptocurrencies will gain mainstream acceptance.

Bitcoin’s 12-year history has been full of steep gains and equally sharp drops. Compared to traditional assets, its market is very opaque.

(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; editing by Carolyn Cohn and Bernadette Baum)