Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Bitcoin prices dive as South Korea says cryptocurrency ban still an option

Bitcoin's spot price was slumping on Tuesday, touching a six-week low near $11,000, as the biggest cryptocurrencies came under pressure across the board, MarketWatch reports.

China, which first began targeting the industry previous year, is escalating its clampdown on cryptocurrency trading, targeting online platforms and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, according to people familiar with the matter.

As for Bitcoin, it continues to fall in price, as well as other top cryptocurrencies.

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Bitcoin's underperformance may be due in part to doubt that the currency can continue delivering the same 1,400 percent returns it did previous year, spurring traders to look for smaller digital assets that promise more upside. Due to various reports emerging around its regulation, Bitcoin's market cap worth $130 billion was wiped off in 2017 alone. If you look at CMC, Tether (USDT) is one of the handful of currencies up over the last 24 hours, and it indicates that a significant majority has sold their tokens for USDT.

"Bitcoin dived below $12,000 today as it appears the regulatory noose is tightening", said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, in a note.

South Korea said on Monday that its plans to ban virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalised, as government agencies were still in talks to decide how to regulate the market. "Meanwhile, there may be growing consensus among European regulators to act in concert".

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Along with bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies are also tumbling after the renewed concerns. China has banned ICOs, shut down cryptocurrency trading exchanges and limited Bitcoin mining. If the Bitcoin/U.S. dollar (BTC/USD) currency pair breaks below this level then it could very easily drop to the next psychologically-important level of $10,000 next.

Green continued: "Traditionalists who declare cryptocurrencies "a fad" are akin to King Canute trying to command the tides of the sea to go back". Ripple sank as much as 40 per cent and Ethereum dropped 26 per cent. "The shutdown of virtual currency exchanges is still one of the options that the government has", Kim said.

He added: "The Koreans and Japanese are used to paying a premium of 20 percent or more per coin".

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According to averaged exchange data from Coinmarketcap's listings, altcoins reacted considerably more sharply to Bitcoin's dip, major assets declining between 20% and 30% over the same period.

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