Bitcoin's price is dropping as Japan's Coincheck halts withdrawals

Courtney Goldsmith
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Bitcoin has had a tough start to the year (Source: Getty)

The price of bitcoin has slumped more than six per cent this morning amid news that a huge Japanese exchange has halted client withdrawals.

Bitcoin has had a tumultuous start to 2018. After rising close to $20,000 in December, the cryptocurrency king has halved in value this month due to murmurs about regulation from nations around the world.

At the time of writing, the digital currency was down 5.74 per cent at $10,498.09, according to Coindesk's aggregate index.

Today, bitcoin's steep drop came as Japanese exchange Coincheck said via Twitter that it was halting deposits, withdrawals and buying and sell of the cryptocurrency NEM.

Coincheck said it was "working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible".

According to Coinmarketcap, NEM is the 10th biggest digital currency by market capitalisation. Its price dropped nearly 18 per cent following the news. Other top 10 cryptocurrencies were trading between five and 13 per cent lower.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday, Theresa May added to the chorus of bitcoin sceptics, calling for more regulation. The Prime Minister said the world should look "very seriously" at the cryptocurrency's implications and its potential for use by criminals.

Chancellor Philip Hammond added to the sentiment, urging caution around bitcoin.

"Possibly we do need to look at the way we regulate this environment before the amount of outstanding bitcoin becomes large enough to be systemically important in the global economy.”

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