At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, the philanthropist George Soros caught everyone’s attention when he warned that the Chinese government’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) presents an “unprecedented danger” to its citizens and to all open societies.

His reading of the situation was prophetic. Last month, The New York Times confirmed Soros’ fears when the newspaper revealed that the Chinese government is using AI-powered facial recognition systems to monitor and target members of the Uighurs, a persecuted Muslim minority in China. Human Rights Watch, in its recently released report titled “China’s Algorithms of Oppression,” provide additional evidence of Beijing’s use of new technologies to curtail the rights and liberties of the Uighurs.

In the province of Xinjiang, where the majority of Turkic minorities reside, surveillance cameras equipped with face scans are omnipresent on street corners, mosques and schools. Commuters travelling between towns must go through security checkpoints where police, with the help of a mobile app, can access information ranging from their religious practices, political affiliation, use of social media platforms and even blood type. In this ecosystem of intense social monitoring, even legal routine behaviour, such as exiting through a backdoor, can be treated as suspect and serve as grounds for dubious arrests.

China has already faced international condemnation for its large-scale arbitrary detention of the Uighurs. The Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect and the Asia-Pacific Center for the Responsibility to Protect, in their report titled The Persecution of the Uighurs and Potential Crimes Against Humanity in China, have signaled that approximately one million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities are placed against their will in “re-education” facilities.

The report cautions: “If urgent measures are not implemented to end the current state of systematic persecution, there is a clear and imminent danger of further crimes against humanity occurring.”

Social credit system

China’s willingness to use AI to control its wider population and stamp out disorder is already well reflected in its nascent social credit system. Developed in concert by private entities and the state, AI-powered algorithms collect data on an individual’s financial and social behaviours to calculate their social score and determine if they pose a threat to the Communist Party of China.

Citizens with low creditworthiness are publicly shamed as their names and faces appear on billboard size displays. However, the use of AI-based facial recognition systems to target minorities pushes this systematic repression one-step further. This is the world’s first case of a government using AI to carry out what many human rights experts consider mass atrocity crimes.

Though The New York Times reported that only Chinese companies developed the facial recognition software, Western tech giants are also catering to Beijing’s authoritarian needs.

In April, Microsoft was accused of being complicit in the design and research of AI facial recognition systems used by the Chinese government for state surveillance. Microsoft Research Asia and the Chinese military-run University of Defensive Technology co-authored three papers on AI and facial analysis last year.

The company defended its controversial partnership by stating that its employees’ research “is guided by our principles, fully complies with US and local laws”. Given the harmful potential of these technologies, Western companies should be more wary of such collaborations.

The truth is China’s use of AI to persecute the Uighurs is a global wake-up call for the international community and demonstrates the need to establish a global human rights framework for this emerging technology.

Privacy rights

Beyond its use by repressive regimes, AI can directly interfere with human rights in democratic and open societies. The infinite collection of personal data by AI systems for micro-ad targeting limits the rights of privacy. AI-enabled online content monitoring impedes freedom of expression and opinion, as access to and the sharing of information by users is controlled in opaque and inscrutable ways.

Vast AI-powered disinformation campaigns — from troll bots to deepfakes (altered video clips) — threaten societies’ access to accurate information, can disrupt elections and erode social cohesion.

An equally frightening scenario is the use of AI in conflict situations. Human Rights Watch has warned that AI could be used in the future to target certain populations in war zones through deploying lethal autonomous weapon systems, commonly known as killer robots.

Many important voices are beginning to wake up to AI’s threat to human rights, particularly in the absence of regulation and oversight. In his report to the United Nations General Assembly on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye stated that “a great global challenge confronts all those who promote human rights and the rule of law: how can States, companies and civil society ensure that artificial intelligence technologies reinforce and respect, rather than undermine and imperil, human rights?”

With China aggressively lobbying for Huawei to build the next generation cellular network in Western countries, including Canada, policy makers should pause and reflect on a legitimate question. That is, how will China’s use of AI powered surveillance technologies be applied to Huawei’s 5G network?

While states through history have used new technologies against civilians, AI has the power to augment the scale, scope and proliferation of monitoring, surveillance and repression. AI’s ability to collect inestimable amounts of personal data per minute at relatively low costs gives state agencies the capacity to conduct levels of intrusive surveillance that pure manpower could never achieve.

What was once in the realm of Orwellian fiction is now being realized in China. As summarized by MIT researcher Jonathan Frankle, “this is an urgent crisis we are slowly sleepwalking our way into.”

Clearly greater collaboration between states will be necessary to prevent AI-enabled human rights abuses and work to ensure authoritarian regimes do not export their technology and practices to other countries. The international community must set in place a human-rights framework that will protect citizens from AI’s most dangerous and lethal applications.

While individual countries are free too act in their own jurisdictions, only global cooperation will establish the norms and rules that are needed to protect citizens the world over from the growing nefarious use of AI.

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Star investor Cathie Wood has a message of reassurance for Bitcoin investors amid the din of ever harsher regulatory rhetoric: officials won’t be able to make the largest cryptocurrency go away.

Tough talk against digital tokens from China and calls for greater scrutiny in Europe and the U.S. have contributed to a slump in Bitcoin, but Wood said the virtual currency is “already on its way and it’ll be impossible to shut it down.”

Catherine Wood

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Regulators “will be a little more friendly over time” toward cryptocurrencies out of fear of missing out on the innovation provided by the sector, Wood said at the Consensus 2021 conference organized by CoinDesk.

The most high-profile recent broadside came from China. A push to rein in cryptocurrency mining there was partly triggered by concern over a surge in illicit coal extraction to deliver the power needed by the server farms underpinning Bitcoin. Billionaire Elon Musk also highlighted environmental risks in suspending Bitcoin payments at Tesla Inc.

Wood, founder of Ark Investment Management LLC, said that the focus on green factors likely led to a pause in institutional buying of Bitcoin. She has previously said she expects the token to surge longer term.

Bitcoin’s questionable environmental profile has eroded the argument that the token is bound to lure more mainstream investment, whether as an online store of value akin to digital bullion or for more speculative purposes.

Musk has backed an effort to shine a light on energy consumption by North American miners, including planned renewable use. But it will take years for many of the largest miners to recalibrate where they source their energy.

“Half of the solution is understanding the problem,” Wood said. “This auditing of what miners, certainly in North America, are willing to do around how much of their electricity usage is generated by renewables is going to bring that topic into stark relief, and will encourage an acceleration in the adoption of renewables beyond which otherwise would have taken the place.”

Ark Investment Management published a report last month saying cryptocurrency mining can drive investment in solar power and make more renewable energy available to the grid.

Capital-Gains Tax

On the stock market outlook, Wood said concerns about higher U.S. capital-gains taxes had hurt “high-volatility, high-multiple stocks,” but added those fears have eased amid increased chances of gridlock in Washington.

Ark’s funds have faced a tough time of late as a wave of selling swept across former market darlings in the technology sector amid a switch to less richly valued segments of the equity market. The firm’s flagship Ark Innovation ETF has slumped about 28% from its February peak.

Bitcoin was trading around the $38,000 level as of 12:41 p.m. in Tokyo, down some 40% from a record in mid-April.

(Updates with more from Wood from the eighth paragraph.)

This content was originally published here.

One reassuring aspect of the rollercoaster ride that saw Bitcoin lose half its value in less than two months is the immunity of the real financial world to contagion from crypto tokens, which I increasingly think of as UnfunnyNotMoney. But there is a danger that speculators, particularly if they’re young and inexperienced, have a “once bitten, twice shy” reaction to losses that could harm their propensity to allocate cash to long-term savings.

The gamification of finance is a worrying trend, and it’s not just restricted to buying and HODLing digital currencies. The FOMO/YOLO crowd has also embraced equities, as we saw earlier this year with the rise and fall (and rise again) of GameStop Corp. and other Robinhood Markets Inc. favorites that caught the attention of Redditors.

In February, legendary investor Charlie Munger said that luring newbie investors into betting on stocks is a “dirty way” to profit from their inexperience. “It’s most egregious in the momentum trading by novice investors lured in by new types of brokerage operations like Robinhood,” the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. vice chairman said. “I think all of this activity is regrettable. I think civilization would do better without it.”

Retail trading of stocks during pandemic-inspired lockdowns has surged, and not just in the U.S. The European Central Bank’s financial stability report published earlier this month noted that contracts for difference and equity swaps — popular ways of making leveraged bets on equities and other securities — surged to almost 15 trillion euros ($18 trillion) in March, more than double their value a year earlier.

Source: ECB

That’s even though IG Group Holdings Plc, which bills itself as the world’s biggest provider of contracts for difference, says in its online marketing literature that 71% of its retail customers lose money trading the product.

That astonishing figure highlights a lesson that shouldn’t be forgotten: Trading and investing are not the same thing. Buying and selling in the hope of making a quick profit is fundamentally different from setting money aside to build a long-term nest egg for the future.

Earlier this month, Fidelity Investments said it’s letting teenagers as young as 13 years old open no-fee accounts, paving the way for the children of its existing customers to “learn through action and foster meaningful family conversations around financial topics,” the Boston-based firm said.

Given the ultra-low interest rates available on traditional money-market accounts, it makes sense to try to educate youngsters about the broader savings universe, including stocks, as my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Brian Chappatta argued a few weeks ago. But there’s a danger that the ability to churn through stocks ostensibly without paying a charge — bid/offer spreads offer a somewhat opaque transaction tax — will lure the teenagers into gambling, rather than investing.

Moreover, the youngest of the current generation of stock-market investors have never seen the aggregate value of stocks fall for more than brief periods. From the end of 2007 until early in 2009, global equities lost 50% of their value, and took six years to recover that lost ground. Since then, the trend has been your benevolent friend. The 30% drop seen last year as the pandemic began to take shape proved to be very short lived.

The Only Way Is Up?

In the wake of the global financial crisis, global stock market values have risen relentlessly

Source: Bloomberg

The global financial crisis left deep scars on the collective psyche of investors, who grew wary of equities. Consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimated in 2012 that a combination of the loss of faith in financial services plus various deterrents to investing would leave the next generation of Western investors $15,000 worse off per year.

It’s no wonder regulators are paying attention to the dangers inherent in the gamification of finance, even if that might mean restrictions on the democratization of money.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, testifying to Congress on May 6, said a report by his agency on this year’s retail trading frenzy will hopefully be ready by the summer. One focus will be the trend among finance apps of introducing features that make trading securities seem like playing a video game, which he said can prompt users to buy and sell more frequently and risk losing money more often.

The proliferation of firms offering trading platforms has made it easier to open accounts, Gensler said. But “we’ve lost that human in the middle saying, ‘Is this appropriate?’” he warned.

The wild swings that have seen Bitcoin trade as high as $65,000 and as low as $30,000 since mid-April will have caught latecomers out. But those who bought just a year ago have almost quadrupled their money, even after the recent decline.

This volatility obscures the central lesson about how capitalism in general and securities markets in particular can help build wealth for the future. Treating trading and investing as similar pathways to financial security unjustifiably elevates the former at the expense of the latter. 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Mark Gilbert at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Nicole Torres at

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US Cash Crisis: Withdrawal Limits Spark Bank Run Fear

The entire world has been focused on the economy as the coronavirus outbreak has devastated global markets. While stocks, commodities, and barrels of oil plunge in value, there’s been considerable demand for cold hard cash in certain countries. According to reports, Wall Street’s elite has been trying to withdraw $30-50K per person as they flee the Hamptons. Moreover, various individuals across the U.S. are claiming financial institutions like Chase and Bank of America are restricting cash withdrawal amounts.

US Banks Impose Withdrawal Restrictions as Customers Empty Accounts Demanding Hard Cash

Cash is something everyone looks for during times of economic hardship and right now banks are struggling to provide liquidity. During Wednesday morning’s trading sessions, global stock markets and futures continue to lose ground. The price of oil has plummeted even further from last week and is at its lowest value per barrel in 17 years. The price of crude oil is hovering around $43 per barrel and Goldman Sachs predicts the price will drop to $20 per barrel soon. Oil prices have already begun to hurt people within the gas industry as 3,500 Halliburton employees from the North Belt facility in Houston have been laid off due to the price decline. While facing massive layoffs in industries like airlines, tourism, and construction, people are in search of hard cash to help hold them over through the economic storm.

Chase is insolvent. Bank run. Proceeded to lie to me to go around outside the drive thru without my mask and she would give me the 5k promised earlier ($2k rationed per customer). I did so and they refused to give me it. Manager demanded I delete the video. $JPM $XLF

— DONT TEST DONT TELL (@enchiridion47) March 17, 2020 reported on how in the Hamptons, New York’s elite have been going to banks and asking to withdraw large sums of cash. According to reports, banks like Chase, JPMorgan and Bank of America (BoA) have been limiting withdrawals. This is because the rich from New York have been asking for $30-50K withdrawals so banks have created a limit between $3-10K in some areas. During the market massacre on March 12, Manhattan Bank temporarily ran low on $100 bills after a large rush for cash. A BoA spokesperson told the public that there were only issues with large denominations and individuals are able to withdraw $20-50 notes. “We don’t keep large amounts of cash in big bills in the branches because it’s dangerous for our employees and there is low demand,” BoA stated.

Bank of America is limiting cash withdrawals to $3,000. Expect that number to drop over the next few days.

— Tatiana Koffman ⚡️ (@tatianakoffman) March 16, 2020

There are people complaining on social media about the withdrawal limits from certain banks in the U.S over the last few days. “Go to the bank today and ask to withdraw your entire balance,” one individual tweeted on March 17. “They are refusing to give out more than $5,000 — Even if your account has $20k. Even if your normal withdrawal limit is $10,000 daily.” On March 14, a person from New York tweeted: “Food chain is broken. Went to Stop & Shop [and] shelves are empty. Meats gone. No more eggs — [and] the bank would only permit a $2,500 limit per day withdrawal.” Another Twitter post shows a man visiting Chase bank and recording a video of a manager refusing to give him $5K. Moreover, the branch manager from Chase asked the person to delete the video. The man said:

Chase is insolvent — Bank run. [The bank] proceeded to lie to me to go around outside the drive-thru without my mask and she would give me the $5K promised earlier ($2K rationed per customer). I did so and they refused to give me it — Manager demanded I delete the video.

Starting from today I’ll start to withdraw cash amounts until I reach a buffer of 6 months for living expenses.

Keep in mind that governments:

– will discourage cash withdrawals
– can ban the usage of cash payments

All because they’re shit scared of an impending #bankrun

— Mr. Backwards ® (@Coin_Shark) March 14, 2020

European Banks Shutter, German Banks Impose Withdrawal Restrictions, and Bank Runs from the Past

The U.S. is not the only country that is having cash problems as European banks have shuttered hundreds of branches since the Covid-19 spread. For example, the financial institution HVB closed 101 branches across the EU. Reports detail that a few German banks are imposing withdrawal limits and customers can only withdraw 1,000 euros per visit. Ever since last Thursday’s stock market crash, people are reminded of the economic disasters in the past like 2008’s Financial Crisis, ‘Black Wednesday’ in 1992, and ‘Black Monday’ in 1987.

However, those crashes didn’t cause massive bank runs; the last time that happened was during the Wall Street crash in 1929. During the Great Depression throughout the early 1900s, the 20s and 30s, there was a massive run on savings and loan operations and financial institutions across the U.S. The economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus is causing these fears again.

“Bank runs are starting in Colorado,” another man from the U.S. tweeted on March 17. “Smaller towns and small cities are not allowing walk-ins [or] anyone, along with limits on cash withdrawals.”

How To Prevent A Bank Run During A Manufactured Crisis

— Spiro (@o_rips) March 12, 2020

Bitmex Research: ‘Bitcoin Price May Shine in the Volatile Inflationary Aftermath’

In this crazy environment of financial calamity, people are uncertain where cryptocurrencies like BTC will stand. A blog post published on March 17 by Bitmex Research predicts high inflation from all of these events. Just like many crypto supporters, Bitmex researchers think that BTC will shine during the inflationary aftermath. “In such an economic environment, with high inflationary expectations, gold looks set to shine,” Bitmex wrote. “But what about Bitcoin? Bitcoin has crashed by almost 53% (peak to trough) in the 2020 Coronavirus crash, as investors raced to the U.S. Dollar. In many ways this was inevitable. Where the Bitcoin price may shine is in the volatile inflationary aftermath of the response to the crash.”

At press time, BTC is hovering just above the $5K region but the asset’s value seems to be dragging downwards and flirting with sub-$5K. Even with prices so low, people believe the possibility of bank runs and significant cash liquidity issues will drive more people toward cryptocurrencies. “If you think bitcoin isn’t a safe haven asset, just wait until the bank runs begin,” BTC supporter ‘Bitcoin Bacon’ tweeted on Tuesday. The day prior another individual shared a picture of his stacks of $100 bills on Twitter and said: “Advice…[I] just cleaned out one of my accounts to get liquid…bank runs will be here by next week.”

What do you think about the economic carnage causing cash shortages and banks adding withdrawal limits? Do you think that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will benefit from this financial calamity? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Price articles and market updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as trading advice. Neither nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Cryptocurrency and global market prices referenced in this article were recorded on March 18, 2020.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter, and

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While the cryptocurrency community deals with floundering market prices, the billion-dollar Kleiman v. Wright Lawsuit continues in Florida. On March… read more.

Since March 12, the Makerdao community has been struggling with the stablecoin DAI which has been over $4 million undercollaterized… read more.

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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Blockchain analytics firm CryptoQuant’s exchange inflow indicator – which measures the 144-block (roughly 24-hour) average of mean bitcoin deposits across major cryptocurrency exchanges – has risen to 2.5 bitcoin, the highest level since March 20.

In other words, the average size of inward-bound transactions to trading platforms has risen to eight-month highs.

“The data shows whales [large traders] are transferring their coins to exchanges,” CryptoQuant CEO Ki-Young Ju told CoinDesk. “The cryptocurrency usually trades in a sideways-to-negative manner when whales become active on exchanges.”

Bitcoin is trading near $16,820 at press time, representing a 2% drop on a 24-hour basis. The cryptocurrency saw rejection above $17,400 early on Friday.

A reading above 2.00 on the indicator has consistently paved the way for notable price drops this year. The indicator rose above that level at least a week before the 40% drop seen on March 12.

Thursday’s price drop was backed by the highest sell volume (red bar) since June 1. As such, the pullback looks to have legs. Short-term momentum indicators such as the 5- and 10-day moving averages are now looking south.

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Image copyrightAFP
Image caption Nearly 100% of energy in Iceland comes from renewable sources

Iceland is facing an “exponential” rise in Bitcoin mining that is gobbling up power resources, a spokesman for Icelandic energy firm HS Orka has said.

This year, electricity use at Bitcoin mining data centres is likely to exceed that of all Iceland’s homes, according to Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson.

He said many potential customers were keen to get in on the act.

“If all these projects are realised, we won’t have enough energy for it,” he told the BBC.

Mr Sigurbergsson’s calculations were first reported by the Associated Press.

Iceland has a small population, of around 340,000 people.

But in recent years it has seen a marked increase in the number of new data centres, often built by firms wishing to tout green credentials. Nearly 100% of energy in Iceland comes from renewable sources.

Bitcoin mining refers to the process of connecting computers to the global Bitcoin network and using them to verify transactions between users of the crypto-currency.

‘Exponential growth’

The computers that do this verification work receive small Bitcoin rewards for their trouble, making it a lucrative exercise, especially when done at a large scale.

“What we’re seeing now is… you can almost call it exponential growth, I think, in the [energy] consumption of data centres,” said Mr Sigurbergsson.

He added that he expects Bitcoin mining operations will use around 840 gigawatt hours of electricity to supply data centre computers and cooling systems, for example.

He estimated that the county’s homes, in contrast, use around 700 gigawatt hours every year.

“I don’t see it stopping quite yet,” added Mr Sigurbergsson, referring to data centre projects.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBitcoin explained: How do cryptocurrencies work?

“I’m getting a lot of calls, visits from potential investors or companies wanting to build data centres in Iceland.”

He also said that there are so many proposed data centres that it wouldn’t be possible to supply all of them.

He added that his firm was mostly interested in dealing with companies that were willing to commit to long-term contracts of a few years or more.

If Iceland took on all of the proposed Bitcoin mining ventures, there simply wouldn’t be enough electricity to supply them all, he added.

Image copyrightHS Orka
Image caption Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson says there is so much demand for Bitcoin mining data centres in Iceland that the country wouldn’t have enough electricity to supply them all were they to be built

The crypto-currency mining industry in Iceland was recently given a boost thanks to the launch of The Moonlite Project – a large data centre where various crypto-currencies, including Bitcoin, will be mined.

It is set to open later this year and will have an initial capacity of 15 megawatts, though this is expected to increase in the future.

Some have questioned how beneficial the rise of the crypto-currency mining will be to Iceland.

Smari McCarthy, a member of the Icelandic parliament for the Pirate Party, tweeted: “Cryptocurrency mining requires almost no staff, very little in capital investments, and mostly leaves no taxes either.

“The value to Iceland… is virtually zero.”

He also clarified previous reports that quoted him as saying he was keen to tax Bitcoin mining firms.

End of Twitter post by @smarimc

It has previously been reported that the electricity demand of the world’s total combined Bitcoin mining operations may now exceed the energy use of the Republic of Ireland, though this calculation may not be entirely accurate.

But as crypto-currencies rise in popularity, mining operations certainly continue to use more and more resources – recent analysis of European energy use in 2017 by campaign group Sandbag noted that Bitcoin mining was contributing to additional power demand in the technology sector.

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A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is seen on September 04 2018 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Yu Chun Christopher Wong | S3studio | Getty Images

A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is seen on September 04 2018 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

The price of major cryptocurrencies plunged on Thursday with nearly $13 billion of value being wiped out in a matter of hours.

bitcoin had fallen nearly 5 percent to $6,303, while XRP and ethereum both tanked over 10 percent, according to data from It’s not unusual to see bitcoin lead other digital tokens lower.

In just three hours, nearly $13 billion of value had been erased from the entire cryptocurrency market.

The drop comes amid fresh warnings from financial authorities about the rapid growth of digital coins and the potential threat to the economy.

“Continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system,” the International Monetary Fund said in a recent report.

Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts hoped 2018 would be a year that regulators warmed up to the idea of professionalizing the trading of digital assets through new financial products like exchange-traded funds. But the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected several ETFs including a highly anticipated one planned by the Winklevoss twins. Other countries, including China, have come down hard on cryptocurrencies.

All of those factors have meant that bitcoin, XRP and ethereum have not recovered to the record highs seen toward the end of 2017 and beginning of this year. On Thursday, bitcoin was more than 68 percent off of its record high of $19,783.21, which it hit on Dec. 17 of last year.

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