Bitcoin Slips As Merrill Lynch, China Send These Bearish Signals: Bitcoin and related futures were relatively steady Thursday, even as U.S. financial regulators warned on cryptocurrency risks, Bank of America (BAC)-owned Merrill Lynch has reportedly banned more investments associated with the cryptocurrency and Chinese state media lashed out at Bitcoin.
On the spot market, the price was down 0.5% at $15,057, according to CoinDesk, off morning lows. Bitcoin was at $15,709, up 4.3% vs. 24 hours ago, on Coinmarketcap.
Ripple, which has passed Ethereum in total market cap, was nearly flat vs. 24 hours ago at $3.17 after sinking as much as 20% intraday on news that Coinbase, one of the largest crypto exchanges, hasn’t decided to add any new coins.
Read: Bitcoin Ban: Merrill Lynch Blocks Clients, Advisors From Trading Cryptocurrency
Meanwhile, Ethereum also pared 24-hour gains sharply and was up just 2.9% at $9640.1.
Among related stocks, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) was up 1.6% on the stock market today, Long Blockchain (LTEA) fell 2%, while Overstock (OSTK) jumped 8%. Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), an investment vehicle that tries to track Bitcoin’s performance, dropped 1.8%.
Late Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Merrill Lynch had barred its financial advisers from making trades for clients in Bitcoin Investment Trust or proposing any investments related to Bitcoin. The investment bank had already prohibited the use of Bitcoin futures.
While positions in Bitcoin Investment Trust are banned in fee-based advisory accounts, they can still be held in brokerage accounts, a source told the Journal.
On Thursday, the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission issued separate statements warned of the dangers of cryptocurrencies and related investments, stressing that regulators are watching the new field closely and taking action to protect investors.
Meanwhile, China’s People’s Daily, the paper of that nation’s Communist Party, said Bitcoin was “flooded with froth” and compared it to the mania surrounding tulip bulbs in 1600s Holland, according to the South China Morning Post.
China last year banned initial coin offerings and has tried to crack down on cryptocurrency exchanges.
South Korea has reportedly considered new measures that would let authorities shutter exchanges and ban the opening of anonymous accounts.
Bitcoin’s latest moves follow a sharp rally two days ago, after the Journal reported that billionaire Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm Founders Fund had scooped up some $15 million-$20 million in Bitcoin — an investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars now.