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Bitcoin extends its collapse

Bitcoin extended losses, bringing its four-session slide to as much as 20 percent, as questions mount about whether the world’s biggest cryptocurrency was manipulated during last year’s record price surge.

After rallying more than 1,400 percent in 2017 amid investor frenzy for digital assets, Bitcoin is down almost 70 percent to around $6,238, from its record high of $19,511 set in December. It traded at a few cents after being launched in 2009.

The virtual currency has struggled to reverse a selloff that coincides with negative news, most recently a study of possible price manipulation using the Tether coin. Bloomberg News reported in May that the Justice Department opened up a criminal probe into illegal trading practices that can manipulate the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Tether, one of the most-traded cryptocurrencies, shows a pattern of being spent on Bitcoin at pivotal moments, helping to drive the world’s first digital asset to a record price in December, according to research by a University of Texas professor known for flagging suspicious activity in the VIX benchmark.

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