Bitcoin shakes off weakness to climb as much as 4%

Risk of tougher regulatory oversight had weighed on prices

Bitcoin shook off a bout of weakness sparked by the risk of tougher regulatory oversight than some crypto enthusiasts had expected.

The token climbed as much as 4 per cent on Wednesday and was holding at about $49,100 as of 1pm in Hong Kong, putting gains this year at about 70 per cent.

Bitcoin fell Tuesday after Gary Gensler, nominee for chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, said in his Senate confirmation hearing that making sure crypto markets are free of fraud and manipulation is a challenge for the agency.

Mr Gensler, who served as a Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman during the Obama administration, has been viewed as a strong advocate for digital assets. He serves as a senior advisor to the MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative and teaches about blockchain technology and digital currencies.

"While the Bitcoin market reacted quickly to his comments, Gensler was largely positive about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies," said John Wu, president of blockchain technology firm Ava Labs. "I'm hopeful the new administration will help foster innovation in blockchains, cryptocurrencies and digital assets, instead of stifling it." – Bloomberg