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Bitcoin rises above $10,000 for first time since early June

After several weeks of trading in narrow ranges, bitcoin breached $10,000 on Sunday for the first time since early June.

In addition to suffering pricing blows due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, the virtual currency went through its third so-called halving on May 11, which cut the rewards given to those who “mine” bitcoin BTC=BTSP to 6.25 new coins from 12.5.

The “halving” has affected the supply side of bitcoin and increased the time needed for miners to find their break-even point.

On Sunday, the cryptocurrency hit highs of $10,200.

Separately, Russian lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday to give cryptocurrencies legal status, but banned them from being used as a means of payment.

The lower house of parliament, also known as the Duma, approved the bill on digital financial assets in a third and final reading.

Anatoly Aksakov, who heads the Russian Banking Association and a financial committee within the Duma, said an agreed position on what a cryptocurrency was had now been defined in law.

“Essentially the cryptocurrency is a complex of digital data, a digital code or a reference, that is stored in the information system,” Aksakov said as he explained the law to Duma members.

The bill will now go to the upper house of parliament and then to the Kremlin, though these last two steps are generally considered a formality.

In its comments on the new bill following an earlier reading on Tuesday, the central bank said: “The draft law introduces the definition of a digital currency, which cannot be a means of payment.”

“Possession of digital currency, its acquisition and transfer by legal means are allowed only if declared.”

On their introduction Russian authorities declared cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, illegal on the grounds that they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism.

Russia changed its position in 2018 and promised to regulate the cryptocurrency market, but this regulation had since been delayed.

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