Cryptocurrencies Are Selling Off

Bitcoin slumped, dragging down smaller rivals such as ether and litecoin, as concerns that regulators will tighten their grip on the market weigh on the the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

Regulators in China and South Korea are increasing oversight on cryptocurrency trading and mining, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission late last year started cracking down on some digital token sales, known as ICOs. Coinmarketcap.com’s decision to exclude Korean pricing data for coins helped create the appearance of a large drop in prices, which some traders attributed as playing a part in the selloff.

“News on the regulatory front is dragging down cryptos,” said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp. “South Korea and China tightening is weighing on bitcoin and in the ICO market, things started slowing down, with the SEC cracking down on illegal offerings.”

Bitcoin slumped as much as 17 percent to $14,820, the most in more than two weeks. The rout in bitcoin is part of a broader selloff in the cryptocurrency realm, with all of the top 10 by market cap falling, and most tumbling by at least 10 percent, according to Coinmarketcap.com. Cardano fell 16 percent, while litecoin slumped as much as 16 percent to as low as $230. Bitcoin is little changed this year after surging about 1,400 percent in 2017.

China plans to limit power use by some bitcoin miners, people familiar with the matter said last week, a potential challenge to an industry whose energy-intensive computer networks enable transactions in the cryptocurrency. The People’s Bank of China outlined the plan Jan. 3 at a closed-door meeting, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because it wasn’t public. They didn’t detail how authorities plan to enact the curbs…

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