BITCOIN, ethereum, ripple and other virtual currencies have been smashed overnight in a bloodbath of Titanic proportions. Beginning of dialog window.

Escape will cancel and close the window. The South Korean government says it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil.

Grace Lee reports. A man watches a screen showing the prices of bitcoin at a virtual currency exchange office in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday, January 16.

Picture: Ahn Young-joon/APSource:AP THE cryptocurrency market has lost $US206 billion overnight in what traders are describing as a “cryptocalypse”, with bitcoin heading back towards its $US10,000 milestone first reached last November. But it was smaller currencies including ripple, ethereum and bitcoin cash that were the hardest hit in the latest sell-off, which was sparked by fresh fears of a crackdown on virtual currencies by governments in South Korea and China.

At the time of writing, ripple was down nearly 50 per cent on the previous day, ethereum had lost nearly 34 per cent of its value, bitcoin cash was down nearly 37 per cent and bitcoin was down 27 per cent to just under $US10,200. The market capitalisation of more than 1300 cryptocurrencies has dropped by around 30 per cent over the past 24 hours, down from $US702 billion to $US496 billion, according to Coinmarketcap. Read more from news.com.au…

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