A picture taken on February 6, 2018 shows a person holding a visual representation of the digital crypto-currency Bitcoin, at the "Bitcoin Change" shop in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
The cryptocurrency and peers have rallied. Jack Guez/AFP

Bitcoin pulls back after bruising plunge



Bitcoin rallied from three-month lows below $6,000 in choppy trading on Tuesday, but worries lingered about a global regulatory clampdown and moves by banks to ban buying bitcoin with credit cards.

On the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, bitcoin hit $5,920, its lowest since mid-November, before recovering to above $8,000 It hit a high of $8,150 and was last at $7,922.79 in late trading in New York, up nearly 15 per cent on the day.

“Crypto is alive and well,” said Matthew Roszak, co-founder and chairman of US blockchain technology company Bloq.

“This whole thing is a movie. It’s not a static feature. We will see continued investment, continued adoption, inspiring developers. This is the real thing.”

Bitcoin has slumped in recent sessions as a risk-off mood spread across financial markets. It has fallen about 70 per cent from its peak of almost $20,000 in December and was down more than 40 per cent so far this year.

The original cryptocurrency gained more than 1,300 per cent last year.

Other digital currencies also rose after posting steep losses the last few weeks. Ethereum, the second-largest by market value, was up 10.7 per cent over the past 24 hours at $791.33, while the third-largest, Ripple, edged up nearly 6 per cent at 76 US cents, according to cryptocurrency tracker coinmarketcap.

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The gains came amid a US Senate hearing on virtual currencies in which J Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Jay Clayton, chairman at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) testified. The Senate is examining the role of the SEC and CFTC in regulating virtual currencies.

After a huge run-up last year, in which investors across the world piled into the market, cryptocurrency prices have skidded lower while regulators have stepped up warnings about the risk of investing in them.

Regulatory clampdowns in South Korea and India and an advertising ban by Facebook have hit sentiment. Several banks said in recent days that they were banning customers from buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards.

Still, many cryptocurrency backers said regulation should be welcomed and short-term price volatility is to be expected for a new market.

“I think regulators need to learn how to interact with this technology and not stop this,” Mr Roszak said.

“Whenever you see a government banning cryptocurrencies, a bank banning, I think in many ways, that’s them pulling the handbrakes up to better understand how to interact this technology,” he added.

Iqbal Gandham, managing director at trading platform eToro said his company had seen a drop in trading interest from investors in recent weeks amid the sell-off, but that interest remained far higher than before the fourth quarter of last year.

The plunge has come during a heavy sell-off in global stock markets in recent days, undermining views that bitcoin’s price moves are generally uncorrelated to those of other asset classes.

The Bio

Ram Buxani earned a salary of 125 rupees per month in 1959

Indian currency was then legal tender in the Trucial States.

He received the wages plus food, accommodation, a haircut and cinema ticket twice a month and actuals for shaving and laundry expenses

Buxani followed in his father’s footsteps when he applied for a job overseas

His father Jivat Ram worked in general merchandize store in Gibraltar and the Canary Islands in the early 1930s

Buxani grew the UAE business over several sectors from retail to financial services but is attached to the original textile business

He talks in detail about natural fibres, the texture of cloth, mirrorwork and embroidery 

Buxani lives by a simple philosophy – do good to all

Mina Cup winners

Under 12 – Minerva Academy

Under 14 – Unam Pumas

Under 16 – Fursan Hispania

Under 18 – Madenat

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Four scenarios for Ukraine war

1. Protracted but less intense war (60% likelihood)

2. Negotiated end to the conflict (30%)

3. Russia seizes more territory (20%)

4. Ukraine pushes Russia back (10%)

Forecast by Economist Intelligence Unit

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SE (second generation)

Display: 40mm, 324 x 394; 44mm, 368 x 448; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits; Ion-X glass

Processor: Apple S8, W3 wireless

Capacity: 32GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 9

Health metrics: 2nd-gen heart rate sensor, workouts, fall/crash detection; emergency SOS, international emergency calling

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: Water resistant up to 50m

Battery: 269mAh Li-ion, up to 18h, wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium; midnight, silver, starlight

In the box: Watch SE, magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh999 (40mm) / 1,119 (44mm)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A

Day 1, Dubai Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Sadeera Samarawickrama set pulses racing with his strokeplay on his introduction to Test cricket. It reached a feverish peak when he stepped down the wicket and launched Yasir Shah, who many regard as the world’s leading spinner, back over his head for six. No matter that he was out soon after: it felt as though the future had arrived.

Stat of the day - 5 The last time Sri Lanka played a Test in Dubai – they won here in 2013 – they had four players in their XI who were known as wicketkeepers. This time they have gone one better. Each of Dinesh Chandimal, Kaushal Silva, Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis, and Niroshan Dickwella – the nominated gloveman here – can keep wicket.

The verdict Sri Lanka want to make history by becoming the first team to beat Pakistan in a full Test series in the UAE. They could not have made a better start, first by winning the toss, then by scoring freely on an easy-paced pitch. The fact Yasir Shah found some turn on Day 1, too, will have interested their own spin bowlers.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

How The Debt Panel's advice helped readers in 2019

December 11: 'My husband died, so what happens to the Dh240,000 he owes in the UAE?'

JL, a housewife from India, wrote to us about her husband, who died earlier this month. He left behind an outstanding loan of Dh240,000 and she was hoping to pay it off with an insurance policy he had taken out. She also wanted to recover some of her husband’s end-of-service liabilities to help support her and her son.

“I have no words to thank you for helping me out,” she wrote to The Debt Panel after receiving the panellists' comments. “The advice has given me an idea of the present status of the loan and how to take it up further. I will draft a letter and send it to the email ID on the bank’s website along with the death certificate. I hope and pray to find a way out of this.”

November 26:  ‘I owe Dh100,000 because my employer has not paid me for a year’

SL, a financial services employee from India, left the UAE in June after quitting his job because his employer had not paid him since November 2018. He owes Dh103,800 on four debts and was told by the panellists he may be able to use the insolvency law to solve his issue. 

SL thanked the panellists for their efforts. "Indeed, I have some clarity on the consequence of the case and the next steps to take regarding my situation," he says. "Hopefully, I will be able to provide a positive testimony soon."

October 15: 'I lost my job and left the UAE owing Dh71,000. Can I return?'

MS, an energy sector employee from South Africa, left the UAE in August after losing his Dh12,000 job. He was struggling to meet the repayments while securing a new position in the UAE and feared he would be detained if he returned. He has now secured a new job and will return to the Emirates this month.

“The insolvency law is indeed a relief to hear,” he says. "I will not apply for insolvency at this stage. I have been able to pay something towards my loan and credit card. As it stands, I only have a one-month deficit, which I will be able to recover by the end of December." 

Section 375

Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Richa Chadha, Meera Chopra & Rahul Bhat

Director: Ajay Bahl

Producers: Kumar Mangat Pathak, Abhishek Pathak & SCIPL

Rating: 3.5/5

The specs

Engine: four-litre V6 and 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: six-speed and 10-speed

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Torque: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000