Bitcoin plunges 8% after a weekend rally

  • Bitcoin has given up gains made over the weekend.
  • The cryptocurrency was trading down 8.81% at $US14,781, according to Markets Insider data.
  • Meanwhile, regulators in Asia are ramping up regulations.

Bitcoin gave up its gains made over the weekend during Monday morning’s trading session.

The red-hot digital coin, which failed to retest its all-time high near $US20,000 set in December, broke through $US17,000 on Saturday. By Monday morning, however, the digital currency was trading down 8.81% at $US14,781, according to Markets Insider data.

It’s not exactly clear what was behind the selling pressure, but news out of South Korea could be one catalyst.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that regulators there were preparing a wide-ranging inspection on six commercial banks who manage “virtual” bitcoin accounts. Virtual accounts, according to the Journal, are where investors can store fiat money when they buy or sell crypto.

“There is growing concern that banks, which should actively act as gatekeepers to prevent the distribution of crime and illegal funds, are aiding and encouraging them,” Choi Jong-ku, head of South Korea’s Financial Services Commission, said.

And in China, bitcoin miners are reportedly fleeing to avoid a government crackdown.

Bitmain, which runs two exchanges, has set up a regional office in Singapore, as well as mining operations in the US and Canada, CEO Wu Jihan told Bloomberg TV in an interview. News of the impending crackdown was first reported Wednesday.

China banned wildly popular initial coin offerings – or ICOs – and the trading of the digital assets on local exchanges in 2017. The country had initially been popular for cryptocurrency mining because of cheap energy costs.

Still, not all cryptocurrency watchers view this as a significant development.

“I don’t think it will have a big effect and not sure all miners will stop,” Greg Van den Bergh, the CEO of MiCai Limited, a China-based financial technology firm, told Business Insider in an email. “The likelihood of detection is [very] small.”

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