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Bitcoin briefly tops $40,000 as it struggles to recover from brutal sell-off

Mount Equity Group Tokyo, Japan > News > Tech > Bitcoin briefly tops $40,000 as it struggles to recover from brutal sell-off

A customer uses a bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) in a kiosk Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.Angel Garcia | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bitcoin fluctuated between gains and losses Thursday, as the world’s largest cryptocurrency struggled to recover from a major sell-off during the previous session.

The digital currency initially climbed Thursday morning, trading as high as $40,700 at one point, before slipping down as low as $38,965, according to data from Coin Metrics. It was last up 2.6% at a price of $39,980.

Some of bitcoin’s younger alternatives also attempted a comeback Thursday, with ether up 2.2% at $2,676 and litecoin rising 3% to $209.

It comes after a brutal plunge for cryptocurrency markets. On Wednesday, bitcoin dived 30% to nearly $30,000 at one point, before paring some of those losses later in the session. The entire crypto market lost hundreds of billions of dollars of value in a single day.

The move lower was likely driven by mixed signals from Tesla CEO Elon Musk — who came out as a believer in bitcoin earlier this year — and a regulatory clampdown on the market in China.

On May 12, Musk said his electric car firm had suspended vehicle purchases with bitcoin due