Bitcoin prices pivoted around the breakeven on Monday, as demand remained lacklustre following fresh reports that Chinese regulators were planning to shut down local cryptocurrency exchanges.
On the U.S.-based Bitfinex exchange, Bitcoin fell to $4,218.5, down $13.5, or 0.32%, well below its recent peak of $4,969. At current prices, Bitcoin boasts a market cap of $69.07 billion.
It pared earlier losses but remained under pressure as investors mulled over further reports that Chinese regulators are ordering domestic Bitcoin exchanges to shut down, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. "China's central bank, working with other regulators, has drafted instructions banning Chinese platforms from providing virtual currency trading services", the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
This latest report comes in the wake of Friday's 6.6% slump in Bitcoin after financial news site Caixin reported that the Chinese government is considering banning key cryptocurrency exchanges in China. China's largest bitcoin exchanges, however, have been reluctant to elaborate on the matter. Spokeswomen for the OkCoin and Huobi platforms told Reuters they had no information to share, as they await clarification from the government.
The latest crackdown on cryptocurrency activity in China comes a week after the People's Bank of China (PBoC) sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency market, imposing a ban on individuals and businesses from raising funds through initial coin offerings (ICOs). An initial coin offering ICO is a means of fundraising via the use of cryptocurrency in which a company attracts investors by releasing its own digital currency, which can appreciate in value if the business is successful.
The string of recent measures proposed by China to curb the use of cryptocurrencies has unsettled investors, as strong demand from Far East has been a key factor supporting cryptocurrency growth.
Bitcoin Cash fell $2.18, or 0.39%, to $555.62, while Ethereum fell 0.52% to $296.18.