S.Korea considering shutting down all virtual currency exchanges

Jack Guez  AFP?Getty Images

According to reports, the price of bitcoin on some exchanges collapsed more than 20%, falling below the US$10,000 mark that the currency broke through in November of past year.

Bitcoin had already slumped by 25 percent on January 16 in a remarkable week of plummeting cryptocurrency values.

Bitcoin slid to $US10,000 ($A14,000) for the first time since December 1, leaving the cryptocurrency down by close to half from its peak hit last month. Coinbase, a leading bitcoin exchange, announced in November that it had an astonishing 13 million investors.

The value of one bitcoin fell to $9,958 (£7,222) before making a slight recovery, according to a price index run by the news site Coindesk.

South Korean regulators are said to be considering a ban on cryptocurrency exchanges, while China is reportedly considering shuttering apps with exchange-like services after banning exchanges outright in 2017. It was up 6.7 percent in the last 24 hours.

The recent price drop also followed Bitcoin declining in value from around the $20,000 mark at the end of 2017.

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With South Korea, Japan and China all making noises about a regulatory crackdown, and officials in France and the USA vowing to investigate cryptocurrencies, there are fears that authorities may launch some coordinated action in relation to the units.

The steep decline has also affected other major cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.

According to Bithumb, South Korea's second-largest virtual currency exchange, the nation's bitcoin trading price stood at 15,697,000 won (US$14,690.69) as of 0314 GMT on Thursday.

Cryptocurrencies of all sizes got smoked this week, when a "bloodbath" of sell-offs wiped out roughly 43% of the world's total cryptocurrency market cap.

"The run-up in bitcoin created a mystique of one-way trading which is being shaken, but the pricing requires faith that there will always be demand", Englander wrote. On the other hand, people might see bitcoin's low price-at least compared to a few days ago-as a buying opportunity, causing bitcoin's price to start rising once again. "But while the rally phase is over, I don't think it is right to say bitcoin is finished".

"This is far from guaranteed given the existence of alternatives with better characteristics".

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