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Bitcoin falls almost 30% after China crackdown | Bitcoin

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The price of bitcoin fell by almost 30% on Wednesday, after a Chinese government crackdown on banks’ use of cryptocurrencies accelerated a long-predicted sell-off.

The world’s largest digital currency tumbled to about $30,000 (£21,000) amid frenzied trading, a drop of over 50% since it hit record highs of more than $64,000 in mid-April. However, by 6pm UK time, the bitcoin price had risen back to about $40,000, still down 8% on the day, according to Refinitiv data.

Critics have been predicting a sell-off for months, claiming the coin has no intrinsic value. The Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, has even warned that investors should be prepared to lose all their money if they dabble in cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has compared bitcoin’s meteoric rise to other financial bubbles like “tulip mania” and the South Sea bubble, which eventually burst in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The cryptocurrency has come under pressure this week following a string of tweets from Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, who investors fear has U-turned in his support for the decentralised coins.

But the latest blow came from China, where the financial industry regulators declared that banks and payment firms are not allowed to offer clients any services involving cryptocurrencies, and warned of the risks linked to trading crypto assets. While the country already has crypto exchanges and initial coin offerings, consumers are still allowed to own crypto assets.

“Recently, cryptocurrency prices have skyrocketed and plummeted, and speculative trading of cryptocurrency has rebounded, seriously infringing on the safety of people’s property and disrupting the normal economic and financial order,” the regulator’s statement, issued on Wednesday, said.

The news accelerated a sell-off that started last week after Musk, seen as a staunch backer of cryptocurrencies, suspended plans to let Tesla customers pay for cars in bitcoin due to environmental concerns about the energy required to mine bitcoin, which contradicted the ethos of the electric car market.

Laith Khalaf, a financial analyst at stockbroker AJ Bell said the environmental concerns and regulatory risks meant the “tide has turned on bitcoin” and “raised doubt over the long term adoption of cryptocurrency by businesses and consumers”.

Earlier this week Musk was also forced to clarify that Tesla had not sold off any bitcoin, following a confusing exchange on Twitter over the weekend about plans for Tesla’s bitcoin holdings.

After bitcoin’s slump, Musk tweeted that Tesla has “diamond hands” – internet slang for holding on to a position despite wild price swings.

Musk’s ability to shift prices with a single tweet has given further ammunition to critics who say cryptocurrencies are too volatile.

Saxo Bank’s chief investment officer, Steen Jakobsen, said the latest sell-off seemed to be “deeper” than previous episodes, and was hitting other cryptocurrencies such as Ether, which plunged 40% during the selloff. It fell from about $3,400 to below $2,000, before later recovering to about $2,850, down 16% on the day, according to Coinbase data.

One-time parody cryptocurrency Dogecoin – based on an internet meme of a shiba inu dog – also tumbled more than 40%, before paring some of its losses on Wednesday afternoon to trade roughly 15% lower at $0.40. Dogecoin has failed to recover after Musk described the virtual currency as a “hustle” during his appearance on US comedy sketch show, Saturday Night Live earlier this month.

“A new widespread deleveraging has sloshed through the cryptocurrency market,” Jakobsen said.

“There is a major bleed across the entire crypto space today,” Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, added, noting that investors may be rightly worried that other countries could follow China’s lead.

“China has for some time been putting pressure on the crypto space, but this marks an intensification – other countries might follow now as central banks make strides towards their own digital currencies,” Wilson explained. “Until now western regulators have been pretty relaxed about bitcoin, but this might change soon,” he added.

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I can’t charge my electric car cheaply because I’m too close to an RAF base | Money

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A few months ago I decided to switch energy supplier and moved to Octopus Energy’s Go tariff, principally because it offers cheap electric car charging overnight at a rate of 5p/kWh.

I applied to have the required smart meter installed. But after being given a date, I was later declined on the basis that smart meters cannot work at my address because they interfere with the missile early warning system at RAF Fylingdales.

Initially, I thought this was a joke. I have been involved with the construction of hundreds of new homes in Teesside, all of which have had smart meters installed.

Smart Energy GB, the body responsible for the rollout, has confirmed that this is very real, and smart meters installed in the area will not have had their smart capacity turned on.

I was told that a new meter is being worked upon and will eventually replace those already installed.

Meanwhile, I am having to charge my car at a premium rate of 16.76p/kWh which is costing me about £26 more a week than it would be on the Go tariff.

AM, Guisborough

Given that your house is more than 20 miles from the RAF base in question, I, too, was amazed that this could be an issue, but it is – and also in other areas close to bases.

Smart Meter GB has confirmed this is the case and says it is working on a solution – a communications hub that will enable people living near sensitive RAF sites to use smart meters.

It says these will be offered to customers “in the coming months”.

It adds those in the affected area, who had already had smart meters installed should be able to have the hubs retrofitted.

Meanwhile, Octopus has come up with a solution for your problem. It has offered to add you to the trial of these new meters, which, in turn, will allow you to go on the Go tariff.

It says it hopes to install your new meter before Christmas. It has also said that if you get the log from your charging firm, showing how much electricity you have used for the car since the switch took place, it will retroactively apply the savings that you would have gained had the smart meter worked from the start – a generous offer.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include a phone number. Letters are subject to our terms: gu.com/letters-terms

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China’s Yutu rover spots ‘mysterious hut’ on far side of the Moon

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Cube-shaped object is probably just a rock. Yutu will check it out anyway

China’s Moon rover, Yutu 2, has sent images of a strangely geometric object.…

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Strikepay struck gold at National Startup Awards 2021

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Strikepay, founded by fintech entrepreneurs Oli Cavanagh and Charles Dowd, scooped the top award for its fast-growing cash-free tipping tech.

Irish fintech company Strikepay has scooped the top prize at this year’s National Startup Awards.

The start-up, previously called Strike, was founded in 2020 to enable cash-free tipping without the need for a payment terminal or a new app on a customer’s phone.

Its founders, fintech entrepreneurs Oli Cavanagh and Charles Dowd, raised €625,000 in seed funding earlier this year and said they intended to seek a further €6.5m in investment by the end of 2021.

Strikepay has already begun acquiring and collaborating with other companies to bolster its product offering. In June, it acquired UK payments rival Gratsi and in April it appointed former Just Eat exec Edel Kinane as its chief growth officer.

Earlier in the year, it teamed up with Camile Thai Kitchen to enable contactless tipping for food delivery drivers and partnered with mobility company Bolt to bring its cashless tipping technology to taxis in Dublin.

Strikepay was one of several winners at the awards ceremony, which was livestreamed last night (2 December).

Other winners included health-tech start-up Stimul.ai, customer analysis tech business Glimpse, and sheep monitoring start-up Cotter Agritech, which has been participating in a new accelerator programme at University College Dublin.

As well as taking the top award, Strikepay also won Best Fintech Startup.

This year marked the 10th year of the National Startup Awards. The event was sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland, Sage, Cronin Accountants and McCann Fitzgerald.

Last year’s top award was given to drone delivery service Manna. The start-up had been working with companies such as Tesco, Just Eat and Camile Thai to test its drones, and has seen further growth since then.

The full list of winners at the 2021 awards, in order of gold, silver and bronze, are:

Startup of the Year 2021

Strikepay

Early Stage Startup

Imvizar, CyberPie, The Fifth Dimension

Emerge Tech Startup

Xunison, Helgen Technologies, LiveCosts.com

Fintech Startup

Strikepay, ID-Pal, Itus Secure Technologies

Food and Drink Startup

Fiid, SiSú, Thanks Plants

Social or Sustainable Startup

Altra, Peer, Fifty Shades Greener

Product and Manufacturing Startup

Cotter Agritech, Orca Board, Filter

E-commerce and Retail Startup

FinalBend, The Book Resort, Nufields

Tech Startup

Glimpse, LegitFit, Examfly

Medtech Startup

Stumul.ai, SymPhysis Medical, Bonafi

Covid Pivot or Response Startup

Zoom Party/Find A Venue, KSH Group, Streat School

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