Bitcoin is having a terrible 2018.
The digital currency has slumped roughly 50% since the start of the year, dropping below $7,000 on Friday morning in Asia. Less than four months ago, it was trading close to $20,000.
The latest losses follow moves to step up regulation of cryptocurrencies in Europe and Asia.
In Japan, two virtual currency exchanges closed down this week amid increasing scrutiny from the country’s financial services watchdog. The trading platforms, Mr Exchange and Tokyo Gateway, both failed to secure a license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency.
The “regulatory clampdown in Japan is a massive negative,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at currency broker Oanda.
Japan is one of the countries where trading in bitcoin and other digital currencies exploded last year, helping to drive up prices as mom-and-pop investors piled in.
Almost half of recent global trading in bitcoin was carried out in Japanese yen, according to industry website CryptoCompare.
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