The world's largest cryptocurrency moved back into the $7,000 range as a key exchange in South Korea, one of bitcoin's biggest markets, came back online.
The digital currency hit a high of $7,100 Tuesday, up 6 percent this week after starting Monday around $6,600, according to data from CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency is still down about 50 percent since the beginning of 2018, and 64 percent from its high in December.
After losing the equivalent of $30 million in a June hack, Seoul-based Bithumb was forced by its banking partner Nonghyup Bank to temporarily stop taking new customers. The world's fifth largest exchange reopened account registrations again this week, according to local media outlet Yonhap News and multiple crypto industry news sites.
"All of this buying is coming from Asia," said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM. "The biggest news in the market right now is that South Korea exchanges are coming back online."
Bithumb's daily trading volume had dropped to around $72 million at one point in August after the NH Bank news. By Tuesday, its 24-hour volume had recovered to $362 million, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.
South Korea is the fourth largest market for bitcoin despite some tightening by regulators earlier this year. The country's top financial watchdog said in June it would require domestic banks to monitor all exchange accounts in compliance with Korean anti-money laundering laws.
South Korea's justice minister said in January that the government was considering a shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges but got major pushback from retail investors. A petition asking the government to hold back on "unreasonable" regulation got 280,000 signatures following that announcement.