International Crackdown on Cryptocurrencies Continues

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were down on Monday morning after briefly recovering early into the weekend. Many of the top banks in India suspended major Bitcoin exchange accounts and capped cash withdrawals in what will likely become part of a larger clampdown. The entities have claimed that the Reserve Bank of India made no concrete directive, but that this was a “cautionary move”.

The sell-off in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies began as South Korea announced it would look introduce strict regulations into the market. China also escalated its moves against cryptocurrency exchanges last week. At one point 90% of bitcoin miners operated out of China.
Authorities will begin to target online platforms and mobile apps that offer cryptocurrency exchange services. According to recent reports, China will also clampdown on individuals and companies that provide market-making, settlement, and clearing services for cryptocurrency trading.

Europe has also started to look into regulating the cryptocurrency market. Germany and France are set to make a joint bitcoin regulation pitch at the next G20 meeting in March. European Union officials have criticized cryptocurrencies in the past for enabling money launderers and playing a part in terrorist financing. Officials have also expressed concern about the speculative risk of bitcoin.

The price of bitcoin was down 7% to $10,500 in the early afternoon on January 22. Ethereum had also dropped below the $1,000 mark after making up ground on the weekend. Cryptocurrencies could see major price fluctuations in the coming weeks and months as countries gear up with new regulations.