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Both the ethereum price and bitcoin price fell to monthly lows on Wednesday, headlining a market slump that has now reached $30 billion.

The Rumor Mill Gets a Quasi-Official Addition

Rumors and speculation that the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is preparing to outlaw bitcoin exchanges grew more serious on Wednesday, as a self-regulatory agency established by the bank issued a statement warning their members not to operate cryptocurrency exchanges or utilize their trading platforms.

The National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA) claimed that bitcoin exchanges do not have a “legal basis” in the country and derided them as a tool for money launderers and other criminals. From a rough translation of the statement:

China Internet Finance Association calls on: Member units should fulfill their commitment to industry self-regulatory conventions, strictly abide by national laws and regulations, do not participate in any of the so-called “virtual currency” related to the concentration of transactions or services for such transactions, take the initiative to resist any illegal Illegal financial activities.

NIFA released a similar statement criticizing initial coin offerings (ICOs) shortly before the PBoC banned Chinese citizens and residents from creating or participating in token sales, so this quasi-official warning added to the growing list of rumors and hearsay that suggest a bitcoin exchange ban is imminent.


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Market Slump Reaches $30 Billion

Every new addition to the rumor mill has caused the markets to contract, and they never quite recover before a new report sends them careening downwards again. On Wednesday, this downwards movement dropped the bitcoin price below $3,800 for the first time since August 22. This represents a 7-day decline of more than $700; for reference, the bitcoin price was $610 this time last year.

bitcoin price

Bitcoin Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

The ethereum price has fared equally as poorly. A week ago, it was trading at $330–having already declined $60 on the heels of China’s ICO ban. Since then, it has dropped well below the $300 threshold. Wednesday afternoon, it fell as far as $261; this put the ethereum price at its lowest point since August 7.

ethereum price

Ethereum Price Chart from CoinMarketCap

The retreat extended throughout the altcoin markets. Monero is the only top 10 cryptocurrency that has not posted a double-digit decline during the past 7 days, but it’s 9.3% slide is far from impressive.

bitcoin price

Chart from CoinMarketCap

This comprehensive pullback has reduced the total cryptocurrency market cap to $131.1 billion. Altogether, the total value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen 21%–constituting more than $30 billion–since Friday, when it reached its weekly peak of $165.3 billion.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Posted by Josiah Wilmoth

Josiah is a former ancient and medieval literature teacher. He has been writing about cryptocurrency since 2014, and his work has been cited in Business Insider, NPR, and Yahoo! Finance. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and son. Email him directly at [email protected]