Bitcoin off record highs, slumps 7% in volatile trade
LONDON - Bitcoin fell as much as 7 percent against the dollar as the fledgling currency was back to its volatile self after having scaled a record peak earlier in the day.
The world's most popular cryptocurrency was last down 6 percent at $18,500 (R283428,88) as of 1241 GMT. The price drop in bitcoin, which some investors saw as an evolving safe-haven, coincided with spot gold's 1.6 percent rise.
Smaller coins ethereum and XRP, which often move in tandem with bitcoin, fell 7.3 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively.
Bitcoin has gained 160 percent this year, fuelled by demand for riskier assets amid unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus,hunger for assets perceived as resistant to inflation, and expectations that cryptocurrencies will win mainstream acceptance.
Bitcoin's 12-year history has been peppered with steep gains and equally sharp drops. Compared to traditional assets, its market is highly opaque.