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Bitcoin

Bitcoin bombs below US$7,000 as sell-off accelerates amid bank bans and regulation concerns

Bitcoin sank below US$7,000 for the first time since November as it continued its longest run of losses since Christmas Day

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 1:07am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 10:29pm

Bitcoin bombed on Monday, falling below US$7,000 (HK$54,745) for the first time since November and leading other digital tokens lower.

As of 2pm in New York (3am in Hong Kong) the digital currency was trading down 14.7 per cent against the dollar at $6,986 a coin, according to data from Markets Insider. That’s nearly a 64 per cent decline from its all-time high of US$19,511 (HK$152,602) in December.

Rival coins also retreated on Monday, with Ripple losing as much as 14 per cent and Ethereum and Litecoin also weaker. The total market capitalization of the crypto market declined by more than US$70 billion (HK$574 billion) in just 24 hours.

Lloyd’s Bank to ban credit card owners from buying bitcoin

Monday’s continuing drop came as Lloyds Banking Group Plc joined a growing number of big credit-card issuers halting purchases of cryptocurrencies on their cards.

Bitcoin’s longest run of losses since Christmas Day has coincided with investors exiting risky assets across the board, with stocks globally retreating in the wake of a slump in US markets Friday.

The cryptocurrency so far seems to be struggling to live up to any comparison with gold as a store of value, which is an argument made by some of its supporters.

China puts the final nail in the cryptocurrency coffin

Bullion edged higher as other safe havens – the yen, Swiss franc and European bonds – also gained.

Weeks of negative news and commercial setbacks have buffeted digital tokens.

A growing number of big credit-card issuers have said they’re halting purchases of cryptocurrencies on their cards, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. Several cited risk aversion and a desire to protect their customers.

Meanwhile, North Korea is trying to hack South Korea’s cryptocurrency-related programs to steal digital currencies and has already stolen tens of billions of won worth, Yonhap News reported.

And authorities in digital-coin powerhouse South Korea and other countries are weighing increased regulatory scrutiny of the industry, news that helped spark the ongoing sell-off.