South Korea considers shutting down domestic cryptocurrency exchanges

Bitcoin ATM on Green Street used to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Both announcements, which came amid ongoing attempts by the United States and Germany to clamp down on money laundering and related crimes, exacerbated volatility in the cryptocurrency markets, sending bitcoin prices tumbling, Reuters reported.

On Tuesday, reports that China and Russian Federation may enact more regulations around cryptocurrency exchanges sent Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple dropping billions off their market caps.

The top 10 cryptocurrencies on the market all fell just as much - or even more than - Bitcoin in value, signifying that it is not Bitcoin which lost value, but the entire cryptocurrency market.

"The volatility of bitcoin - and other cryptocurrencies - is an expected, and important, part of the journey to becoming a mature asset class". Bitcoin is still up more than 900 percent in the past 12 months. That's less than half of it's all-time high of $4,053, reached in December. This is major news, due to the fact that the costs of electricity in the country is extremely low - making it an attractive place to set up shop for those in the bitcoin business.

South Korea's Financial Regulator Chief said the government is considering shutting down all local virtual currency exchanges in a National Policy Committee meeting on Thursday.

Israel also made waves and contributed to the cryptocurrency crash, expressing trepidation over the lack of regulations around the currency and hesitance to allow it to continue operating until further evaluated by the country's financial regulators.

Bitcoin hasn't caught on as a currency for buying things, as intended. There's fears that the country could block such trading altogether after finance minister Kim Dong-yeon said banning crypto trading was "a live option".

A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens are displayed in this illustration taken on December 8, 2017.

"The panic-selling seen across all the major cryptocurrencies could be attributed to a possible regulatory clampdown in South Korea with authorities threatening to place an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading", noted David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB. With a market cap in the billions, it's no longer an investment that governments and traditional investors can ignore.

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