China's clampdown on cryptocurrencies has reportedly taken a new direction – to close down local bitcoin exchanges.
Initial reports from Chinese media that the government plans to close down domestic cryptocurrency exchanges have seen the virtual coin shed more than $100 since Friday. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal also reported Monday that that the country is planning to shut down digital currency exchanges.
Bitcoin sunk to a low of $4,241 in late trading in the U.K. Friday, and reached a low of $4,108 on Monday, according to Coindesk data.
It climbed to a record high of $5,000 dollars a little over a week ago, and has shot up by nearly 350 percent since the start of the year.
The latest reported crackdown follows a decision by Chinese regulators – including the People's Bank of China (PBOC) – to ban initial coin offerings (ICOs). ICOs are a means of raising funds by selling off new digital tokens. A crackdown on ICOs would not affect the original cryptocurrency directly, but bitcoin still dropped more than $1,000 over a period of three days.
China's latest move to shut down local exchanges would mark a new direction for the country in its efforts to regulate the market.