Bitcoin is tanking after Chinese exchanges block withdrawals


A Bitcoin sign is seen in a window in Toronto.Reuters/Mark Blinch

Bitcoin is down 6.6% at $990 per coin as of 9:06 a.m. ET after at least two of China’s biggest bitcoin exchanges announced they are blocking customers from withdrawing their bitcoins. It was down as much as 10% before paring its losses. The announcements follow Wednesday’s meeting between the People’s Bank of China and the bitcoin exchanges.

Thursday’s announcements are notable because nearly 100% of all bitcoin transactions take place on Chinese exchanges. The cryptocurrency has had a wild start to 2017 after gaining 120% in 2016, becoming the top performing currency two years in a row. 

Bitcoin started 2017 with a gain of more than 20% in the opening week of the year before crashing 35% on concerns China was going to start cracking down on trading. Recently, China’s largest bitcoin exchanges announced they would charge a flat fee of 0.2% on all transactions.  

Thursday’s steep slide has pushed bitcoin to its lowest level since the final trading day of January.  It is still higher by 3.6% for the year.


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