The cryptocurrency market is experiencing its second crash this week on rumours that the Chinese government is seeking to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges.
Comments in the social media pointed to an article by Chinese publication Caixin, claiming that the local authorities are planning a crackdown on exchanges as part of the ICO ban they announced on Monday. A Google translation of the Caixin report suggests that OKCoin and Bitcoin China (BTCC) would be among the affected exchanges.
The market nosedived after the news broke, with most cryptocurrencies in the top 100, including all the cryptocurrencies in the top 10, posting heavy losses. According to data from industry tracker Coinmarketcap, the total cryptocurrency market capitalisation currently stands at $148 billion, down from $163 billion just a couple of hours ago.
The Bitcoin price currently stands $4254.21, representing an 8.1% decline over the past 24 hours. Ethereum is $291.66, down 11.7% over the same time period. Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Litecoin have lost 12.2%, 7.6% and 15.5 percent, respectively.
The IOTA coin is the worst performing coins in the top 10, falling 23% over the past 24 hours. The token had already suffered heavy losses before the news surfaced, after an academic study claimed it had discovered vulnerabilities in its cryptography method.
On Monday, Chinese regulators issued a statement, explaining why they had decided to ban initial coin offerings. "In essence, it is a kind of non-approved illegal open fund raising behavior, suspected of illegal sale tokens, illegal securities issuance and illegal fund-raising, financial fraud, pyramid schemes and other criminal activities," they said, referring to the practice of funding through digital coin sales.