One other BRICS nation cracks down on digital currencies

A slew of blockchain- and bitcoin-related stocks sank on Wednesday following a steep fall in the price of the cryptocurrency over the past few days on fears of regulatory clampdowns.

Most of the drop-off has been attributed to tightening regulations in South Korea, as Business Insider notes. It's also looking to drive out China's bitcoin miners who are believed to account for the majority on the planet.

Last month, the Indian Income Tax Department raided bitcoin exchanges across the country, seeking to identify cryptocurrency traders.

Bitcoin had a stellar year in 2017, starting at around $800 and steadily gaining value, before touching an all-time high of $19,783 on December 17th.

However, it looks like the last couple of weeks have seen a change, with Bitcoin dropping below the $10,000 mark today, a 50 percent drop following its peak just a month ago. Ethereum is at $872, down 18%, Ripple XRP at $1.00, down 22%, Bitcoin Cash at $1518, down 21%, Litecoin at $159, down 18%.

Chinese regulators previous year banned initial coin offerings, shut down local cryptocurrency trading exchanges and limited bitcoin mining - but activity in the cryptocurrency and bitcoin space has continued through alternative channels in China despite the crackdown.

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In the past 24 hours, ETH is down 22.5 percent to around $850, Ripple is down 26.3 percent to $1.03, and so on.

In South Korea, shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges is still an option, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in an interview with TBS radio.

Other news that may have caused the price drops includes reports that the Chinese government is planning to restrict local access to trading platforms, according to the BBC.

Charles Hayter, chief executive of CryptoCompare, said many anticipated the cryptocurrency market to decline.

"With reports on a renewed crackdown on the cryptocurrency in China fuelling anxiety over future restrictions, further losses could be on the cards in the near term". Asian buyers may be exhausted of paying premiums for cryptocoins Mati Greenspan, analyst at eToro said:"The pullback seems to be coming from a lack of buyers in Asia".

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