Bitcoin slumped for a third day amid fears of a regulatory clampdown on cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan and the US, the world’s most active markets for digital assets. The biggest virtual currency declined more than 3 percent in early Asia trading, extending its slump below $10,000, after Japan’s Financial Services Agency ordered two exchanges to halt operations for a month and penalized four others.

The FSA’s announcement came just hours after a warning from the US Securities and Exchange Commission that many online trading platforms should register with the agency. Governments around the world are scrutinising cryptocurrency exchanges amid concerns ranging from money laundering to cyberthefts and trading outages.

While signs of tighter regulation tend to weigh on digital-asset prices, some observers have argued that more government oversight would make the nascent markets safer for the hordes of individual investors who piled during last year’s speculative boom. News on Wednesday that hackers had caused “irregular trades” at Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, highlighted the risks of using platforms that often operate in a legal grey zone.

While Binance said that no funds had been stolen, the exchange also said it was unable to reverse some of the errant trades, without clarifying further. The clampdown in Japan, one of the few major countries to develop a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges, came a month after Tokyo-based Coincheck lost nearly $500 million in the biggest cyber theft of its kind.

Two exchanges — FSHO and bit station — were instructed to halt operations for a month, the FSA said at a briefing in Tokyo, while GMO Internet Inc.’s GMO Coin, Tech Bureau Corp.’s Zaif, Bicrements and Mr. Exchange also face sanctions. The FSA ordered Coincheck to revise its management structure, improve anti-money laundering procedures and submit a report by March 22. Read more from telegraph.co.uk…

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