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Bitcoin falls below $19,000 as cryptos creak under rate hike risk

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SINGAPORE, Sept. 19 (Reuters) – Cryptocurrencies plunged to new lows on Monday amid regulatory concerns and as investors worldwide shied away from risky assets with interest rate hikes looming around the globe.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, fell about 5% to a three-month low of $18,387.

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Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, fell 3% to a two-month low of $1,285 and is down more than 10% in the past 24 hours. Most of the other smaller runners were deeper in the red.

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The Ethereum blockchain, which underpins the ether token, has undergone a major upgrade this weekend called the Merge, which changes the way transactions are processed and reduces energy consumption. read more

Representations of virtual currency Bitcoin are placed on US dollar banknotes in this image, taken May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The token’s value has fallen amid some speculation that comments last week from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Gary Gensler suggested the new structure could attract additional regulation. Transactions related to the upgrade were also settled.

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“It’s speculation about what may or may not happen,” said Matthew Dibb, COO of Singaporean crypto platform Stack Funds, of the regulatory outlook.

“Since the merger, a lot of the hype has come out of the markets,” he said. “It was really kind of a sell-the-news event,” he added, given the nervous global backdrop, saying ether could test $950 in the coming months.

“Looking at the landscape right now, both fundamentally and technically, it doesn’t look great. There is no direct bullish catalyst that we can see that will support these markets and bring in a lot of new money and liquidity.”

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Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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