Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies were on the slide on Monday as the Chinese government escalated its crackdown on the nation’s crypto miners.
In late morning trading in London, Bitcoin was down 5% in the last 24 hours at US$33,192, giving it a market cap of US$622bn. Earlier this morning, Bitcoin dipped to US$32,658, its lowest level in a fortnight.
The world’s second-largest crypto, Ethereum, also turned downwards, sinking 6.2% to US$2,011 after briefly dipping below US$2,000 in early morning deals, the first time it has done so since May.
Crypto’s latest selloff appears to have been sparked by an extended clampdown by Chinese authorities on the country’s burgeoning mining sector, with officials in Sichuan province, one of the biggest hydro-based crypto mining hubs in China, having ordered a clampdown on the activity in the province last Friday.
Sichuan’s move follows similar actions by other Chinese provinces such as Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai and Yunnan, which have also announced crackdowns or partial bans on crypto mining within their jurisdictions.
The developments have sent jitters across the crypto markets as investors in digital currencies continue to grapple with the rapidly shifting attitude of regulators to crypto around the world.
The UK’s financial system has also continued its cautious approach to digital assets, with reports over the weekend saying banking giant TSB is planning to ban its UK banking customers from purchasing crypto imminently amid concerns over the prevalence of fraud on crypto trading platforms such as Binance, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.