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Bitcoin plunges as much as 20 percent as Chinese yuan soars

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A dramatic rally in digital currency bitcoin came to a spectacular end on Thursday with a plunge of up to 20 percent as China’s yuan rose sharply – further evidence of an intriguing inverse relationship between the pair.

Bitcoin had gained more than 40 percent in two weeks to hit a three-year high of $1,139.89 on Wednesday, just shy of its all-time record of $1,163 on the Europe-based Bitstamp exchange . But it dived as low as $885.41 on Thursday as the yuan jumped by over 1 percent in offshore trading and headed for its strongest two-day performance on record. [CNY/]

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Chinese exchanges have reported high volumes of trading of the web-based “cryptocurrency” over the past year, during which time the yuan has shed almost 7 percent, its worst annual performance since 1994, while bitcoin has surged 125 percent, outperforming all other currencies for a second year in a row.

Bitcoin can used for moving money across the globe quickly and anonymously, and operates outside the control of any central authority. That makes it attractive to those wanting to get around capital controls, such as in China, and also to investors who are worried about a devaluation in their currency.

“Given that the yuan’s weakness over recent months seemed to correlate with bitcoin’s strength more than any other currency, it’s no surprise that bitcoin traders have reacted the way they have to the yuan’s sudden strength today,” said Paul Gordon, co-founder of London-based Quantave, a firm seeking to make it easier for investors to access digital currency exchanges.

Exchanges in China say they account for more than 90 percent of global bitcoin trading, which would help explain why a shift in Chinese demand would sharply affect the price.

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But many bitcoin experts say Chinese exchanges overstate their volumes in the digital currency, and attribute sharp moves to speculation by, for example, U.S.-based hedge funds.

Some said bitcoin’s fall was a natural reaction to the speed of its previous rise. It is still up more than 50 percent on three months ago, when it was trading at around $600,

“If something goes up very rapidly…people make a lot of money, and at some point they’re going to want to sell, in order to realize their gains,” said Marco Streng, CEO of bitcoin mining and trading firm Genesis Mining.

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By 1645 GMT (11:45 a.m. ET), bitcoin had recovered some of its earlier losses to trade down almost 15 percent on the day at around $950, still leaving it on course for its worst performance in a year.

On some digital currency exchanges – of which there are dozens – bitcoin did reach record highs late on Wednesday.

“Once we broke through the nominal all-time high, liquidity dried up – no shorts, no sellers, which means a volatile little bubble formed quickly,” said Peter Smith, CEO of London-based Blockchain, the biggest bitcoin wallet-provider globally.

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“We are seeing the effects of that now as it breaks. It’s still fairly thin trading volume though, so who really knows where it goes next.”

For a graphic on the bitcoin economy, click http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/HONGKONG-BITCOIN/0100106X09S/BITCOIN%20ECONOMY%20T.jpg

For a graphic on bitcoin exchange rates, click http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/1/2097/4051/s3d90f04kz56.htm

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(Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)


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There’s evidence that climate activism could be swaying public opinion in the US

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Climate activists walked out of classrooms and workplaces in more than 150 countries on Friday, Sept. 20 to demand stronger action on climate change. Mass mobilizations like this have become increasingly common in recent years.

I’m a scholar of environmental communication who examines how people become engaged with solving dilemmas such as climate change, and how activism motivates others to take action. A new study I worked on suggests that large rallies, such as this youth-led Climate Strike, could be influencing public opinion.

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‘I’ve seen smarter cabinets at IKEA’: See the most memorable signs from the global climate strike

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"Why should we go to class if you won't listen to the educated?" one homemade sign asked.

With millions marching to demand bold climate action in more than 150 countries around the world on Friday, a number of sentiments expressed on homemade signs and through other demonstrations captured the world's attention.

An estimated 400,000 people attended strikes across Australia to start off the day of action. The Australian Conservation Foundation shared a video of some of the young people, including one marcher who proclaimed, "You'll die of old age, we'll die of climate change," addressing the world leaders who climate scientists say are not working nearly fast enough to end fossil fuel extraction and the resulting carbon emissions which are causing global warming, rising sea levels, droughts, and other extreme weather events.

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Trump felt free to ask for Ukraine election interference after Mueller let him off the hook: Wired reporter Garrett Graff

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On CNN's "New Day Weekend," author and commentator Garrett Graff noted that President Donald Trump's attempt to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden came right after former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in 2016 ended — and suggested the two were related.

"You know, Garrett, there may be some people thinking 'Gosh, we just got out of the whole scenario with the Mueller report. Now we have this again,'" said anchor Christi Paul. "Do you get a sense that there are people looking at this saying 'I think I have confidence in the 2020 election?'"

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