Asia stocks crumble

Asia markets fell sharply on Thursday, with the stock indexes in Shanghai and Shenzhen both tumbling more than 5%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 tumbled 915.18 points, or 3.9%, to 22,590.86. The Japanese yen, generally considered a safe-haven currency for fearful investors, was at 112.22 against the U.S. dollar.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index shed 926.70 points, or 3.5%, to 25,266.37

Taiwan stocks fell without a parachute, with shares of lens maker and Apple supplier Largan Precision plunging 9.9%

Australia fell sharply, with most sectors lower. The energy sub-index was down 3.8%, materials was lower by 2.6% and the heavily weighted financial sector fell 2.9%.

Major banking names in Australia fell, with Commonwealth Bankshares down 2.9%. Mining stocks were also lower, with Rio Tinto down 3.2% and BHP off by around 3.8%.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7076 U.S.

Meanwhile, the price of major cryptocurrencies plunged on Thursday with billions of dollars in value being wiped out in a matter of hours.

In the mid afternoon during Asia hours, bitcoin had fallen more than 4% to around $6,275 U.S., while XRP and ethereum both tanked by more than 11%, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com. It's not unusual to see bitcoin lead other digital tokens lower.

In other markets

The CSI 300 jettisoned 157.49 points, or 4.8%, to 3,281.60

In Singapore, the Straits Times STI index dumped 84.09 points, or 2.7%, to 3,047.39

In Taiwan, markets returned from holiday, as the Taiex index dropped 660.76 points, or 6.3%, to 9,806.11

In Korea, the Kospi index let go of 98.94 points, or 4.4%, to 2,129.67

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 slid 329.62 points, or 3.6%, to 8,721.20

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 166.04 points, or 2.7%, to 5,883.76