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- Bitcoin price drops more than $1,000 to fall below $17,000 per coin.
- The drop comes after one of the largest crypto trading platforms, Coinbase, launched and then suspended trading in bitcoin cash — a spin-off of bitcoin.
- Total cryptocurrency market capitalisation passes $600 billion.
LONDON — The price of bitcoin has dropped below the $17,000 mark during trading early in the European morning on Wednesday following a series of troubling developments for the cryptocurrency in recent days.
According to data from Markets Insider, the price of bitcoin has dropped by close to 6% just after 8.10 a.m. GMT (3.10 a.m. ET) losing more than $1,000 in value to trade at roughly $16,500, as the chart below illustrates:
Wednesday’s price fall comes after news on Tuesday that Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency trading platforms, was to allow the trading of bitcoin cash — a spin-off of bitcoin that launched earlier in 2017.
However, just hours after bitcoin cash trading started on Coinbase, the site suspended that trading after bitcoin cash’s price spiked, prompting concerns about possible insider trading by people who had been pre-briefed about the announcement.
“Given the price increase in the hours leading up the announcement, we will be conducting an investigation into this matter,” Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong said in a blogpost.
“If we find evidence of any employee or contractor violating our policies — directly or indirectly — I will not hesitate to terminate the employee immediately and take appropriate legal action.”
Also on Wednesday, a group of Australian researchers published the findings of a study that showed almost half of all transactions in bitcoin are associated with buying and selling illegal goods and services, including drugs, weapons and pirated software.
Using techniques usually associated with forensic accounting, the group of researchers led by Talis Putnins, a Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, found that blockchain technology underpinning bitcoin holds significant promise for revolutionising many industries.
“But this sort of illegal activity risks stunting the adoption of this technology and limiting the potential benefits to society,” Putnins said, according to our colleagues at Business Insider Australia.
Compounding the day of bad news in the crypto world, on Tuesday a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange said it is shutting down filing for bankruptcy after it was hacked for the second time this year, highlighting concerns about security as trade in bitcoin and other virtual currencies boom.
Youbit announced on its website that it had been hacked at 4.35 a.m. local time on Tuesday, causing a loss worth 17% of its total assets.
Despite that, according to crypto tracking website coinmarketcap.com, the total global market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies has now passed $600 billion.
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