Bitcoin Extends Weekly Gains; 160 Exchanges Interested in Japanese Market

31 August 2018, 17: 19
© Reuters.  Bitcoin was higher on Friday.

Cryptocurrencies pushed higher on Friday, with Bitcoin on track to finish the week in the green for the third consecutive week.

Bitcoin rose 1.39% to $6,943.10 on the Bitfinex exchange, as of 8:33 AM ET (12:33 GMT), on track for a weekly gain of almost 7% but has fallen almost 70% since its peak of almost $20,000 in December.

Cryptocurrencies overall were slightly higher, with the coin market cap of total market capitalization was at $225 billion at the time of writing compared to $220 billion on Thursday.

Ethereum, the second biggest alternative currency by market cap, rose 0.49% to $278.42 while XRP, the third largest virtual currency, inched up 0.90% to $0.32821 and Litecoin was at $60.008, up 1.61%.

Around 160 digital exchanges are interested in entering the Japanese market, the country’s Financial Services Agency said. Currently 16 virtual currency exchanges are licensed while another 16 have been allowed to operate while their applications are being reviewed.

“Including preliminary consultation/inquiries regarding registration, around 160 operators are expressing their intention of market entry,” the agency told bitcoin.com.

The Japanese market is one of the top markets for cryptocurrency trading but faces challenges over cybersecurity and hacking. The regulator has begun inspecting all exchanges and has not approved any new companies so far this year.

Meanwhile China continues to double down on the virtual currency industry. On Thursday the government banned promotional activities directed at digital currencies in the special economic zone of Guangzhou. The news of the ban extension came after China-based multinational technology giant Baidu was told to shut down crypto-related online chat rooms earlier this week.