Bitcoin is becoming a popular choice for those stockpiling for a doomsday scenario. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Bitcoin is becoming a popular choice for those stockpiling for a doomsday scenario. Picture: BLOOMBERG

Hong Kong — Bitcoin slumped by the most since September, giving new impetus to a January sell-off in cryptocurrencies that coincides with rising scrutiny from regulators in many countries.

The largest digital coin fell 12% to $12,255 at 9am in London, the lowest level since December 5, according to composite pricing on Bloomberg, bringing an end to its two-day rally. Earlier, Bitcoin was down more than 40% from its record high in mid-December. Rival cryptocurrencies also tumbled, with Ripple diving as much as 28%.

Investors "should be prepared to lose all their money" in bitcoin, said Steven Maijoor, chairperson of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), in a Bloomberg TV interview in Hong Kong. "It has an extremely volatile value, which undermines its use as a currency. And it’s also not broadly accepted."

The ESMA warned retail investors against initial coin offerings in November and is monitoring developments in cryptocurrencies, Maijoor said.

China, which first began targeting the industry in 2017, is escalating its clampdown on cryptocurrency trading, particularly online platforms and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg

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