Cryptocurrencies slump as Asia tightens regulations

18/01/2018

Bitcoin’s price fell below $10,000 as a dramatic sell-off of all cryptocurrencies entered its second day, amid fears over tighter regulations in Asian markets.

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So far, more than $200bn has been wiped off the value of global cryptocurrencies at the peak of the recent sell-off, which extended into Wednesday morning.

The sell-off appeared to be sparked by worries over tighter regulation in the key markets of South Korea and China.

Last week, South Korea's justice minister said that his ministry was preparing a bill that could ban trading via some cryptocurrency exchanges. Other ministers within the government later softened their stance.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the Chinese central bank urged authorities to ban the centralized trading of virtual currencies.

It all started at around 7am GMT on Tuesday, when the total market capitalization or value of every digital coin stood at $653.8 billion, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com, a website that tracks the price of cryptocurrencies by taking into account the prices across different exchanges.

This was when the sell-off began to take hold. As the price of major cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ethereum and ripple fell sharply, that market cap declined by Tuesday evening to a low of $450.5 billion. The market cap, and the price of some coins recovered slightly from that low, but are still significantly lower.

Bitcoin's peak in January coincided with the launch of Bitcoin futures contracts, a moment that was seen as the digital currency entering the mainstream. The first month-long contracts are due to expire on Wednesday, with investors nursing heavy losses.

View this tweet from blockchain entrepreneur Francis Pouliot, collecting some of the messages from a bitcoin Reddit community:

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