The currency faces a crackdown from foreign governments. The South Korean government says it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil.

Newslook A man passes by a screen showing the prices of bitcoin at a virtual currency exchange office in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.

Prices of bitcoin and other digital currencies have skidded after South Korea’s top financial policymaker said a crackdown on trading of crypto currencies was still possible. (Photo: Ahn Young-joon, AP) Speculators beware: The once-high-flying digital currency bitcoin is again feeling the heat from regulators in Asia, causing its price to go into a free fall.

Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency whose skyrocketing price in the past year captured the imagination of speculators and skeptics alike, has come under intense selling pressure early in 2018. Bitcoin careened 25% lower Tuesday after a startling gain of nearly 1,400% last year and peaking at roughly $19,500 per coin in late December.

The steep drop, which pushed bitcoin to a six-week low of $10,650, was driven in part by news that South Korea, a country whose investor base has been at the epicenter of the bitcoin trading boom, was considering a crypto trading ban. That news collided with a Bloomberg report that Chinese authorities, which have already shut down local crypto exchanges, were also planning to block its residents from trading bitcoin on foreign exchanges. Read more from…

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