The price of a unit of bitcoin fell more than 17% on Tuesday to $11,182 – its lowest value since 5 December.
At one stage, the cryptocurrency lost more than $1,000 in an hour before easing slightly. The falling value across the key digital currencies comes as governments in China and South Korea plan further crackdowns on the currency, its mining and transactions.
In an effort to clarify its proposed tough stance on cryptocurrencies, the South Korean government issued a statement on Monday: “The proposed shutdown of exchanges that the justice minister recently mentioned is one of the measures suggested by the justice ministry to curb speculation. A government-wide decision will be made in the future after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions.”
The price of bitcoin, etherium and other nascent digital currencies fell sharply when reports of the proposed regulation first circulated last week. In China and South Korea, in particular, initial coin offerings have rapidly become part of the local, and very popular, gambling culture. In July 2017 a breach led to 30,000 accounts being hacked on Bitthumb, a local exchange, with an unspecified number of bitcoins being stolen.
Bitcoin has lost 40% of its value since reaching its record high of $20,000 in mid-December last year. The currency, which is notorious for its wild swings in value, had steadied a little at the time of writing, with a value of $12,078 on the popular Coinbase exchange.