A popular online brokerage abruptly curbed trading in cryptocurrencies just as bitcoin hit a record high, catching investors in one of the hottest corners of the market off guard.
EToro, an Israel-based digital trading platform with global operations, told customers in Europe late Friday they had to close all margin trading in cryptocurrencies in a matter of hours, according to the company. Margin trades use borrowed money to amplify investments.
The order came as bitcoin approached an all-time high of $41,962 on Friday, after more than tripling in 2020. Over the weekend, the world’s leading cryptocurrency went in reverse, shedding around a quarter of its value and traded at $34,184 on Monday, according to data from CoinDesk.
The move by eToro shows the topsy-turvy world of cryptocurrencies, where rapid price swings—often with little or no catalyst—can surprise investors and brokerages that cater to them. With margin trading, as an asset’s …