Cryptocurrency risks resurface as Bitcoin reaches new high

The potential volatility of cryptocurrency stocks became a major talking point this week after Bitcoin rallied toward an all-time high on Monday 8 November.

Fellow cryptocurrency ether also climbed to a fresh record as cryptocurrencies rode a wave of momentum, flows, favourable news and inflation fears.

Bitcoin jumped more than 4% to as high as $66,170, approaching the unprecedented $67,016.50 level reached on 20 October, while ether – which underpins the ethereum network – sat at a record top of $4,768.07.

Ether is up around 59% since the start of October and bitcoin about 51% as investors have cheered last month’s launch of a US futures-based bitcoin exchange-traded fund and sought exposure to an asset class sometimes regarded as an inflation hedge.

Falling real yields, as traders brace for inflation, also adds to the attractiveness of assets such as gold and cryptocurrencies which do not pay a coupon, said Kyle Rodda, analyst at broker IG Markets, adding that the mood in the sector has also been good.

“Financial institutions want to be a part of it, regulators don’t want to clamp down on it too much,” he said. “We’re almost past the inflection point, where it’s part of the system and its going to be very, very hard to extricate it.”

Last week, New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams  said he would take his first three pay-checks in bitcoin and signalled his intention to make his city the “center of the cryptocurrency industry” after a similar pledge from Miami’s mayor.

Indeed in recent weeks, Australia’s biggest bank has said it will offer crypto trading to retail customers, Singaporean authorities have sounded positive on the asset class.

However, there is still considerable caution in other quarters.

Earlier this year, for example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned bitcoin and cryptocurrency buyers, exchanges and payment platforms over the growing threat of criminals looking to steal bitcoin and crypto-assets.

There are also growing signs that the Bank of England is to seek to tackle the use of crypto-assets amid fears they pose a stability risk to the financial system.

Sir Jon Cunliffe, the bank’s deputy governor Financial Stability, said last month that the bank was aware of the risks the use of crypto-assets posed and was examining the creation of guidelines for its use by business.

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