The Bitcoin price (BTC/USD) has fallen below the key level of $9,000, as uncertainty continues to dominate the wider cryptocurrency market.
According to data from cryptocurrency tracker Coinmarketcap, the Bitcoin price is currently hovering around $8,350, its lowest level since November 25. Most digital coins have posted double-digit percentage losses over the past 24 hours, as the total cryptocurrency market cap has dropped to below $400 billion.
Bitcoin and its crypto alternatives are struggling amid growing uncertainty stemming from reports about tougher regulation in India and controversy surrounding one of the largest digital currency exchanges.
During his budget speech yesterday, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the government did not consider cryptocurrencies as “legal tender or coin” and would introduce measures to “eliminate” the use of cryptocurrencies in “financing illegitimate activities”. While Jaitley indicated that the government intended to “explore the use of block chain proactively for ushering in digital economy”, the prospect of tougher regulation in the country further dampened the market sentiment.
Earlier this week, a Bloomberg report stated that in December the US Commodity Futures and Trading Commission sent subpoenas to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and Tether, the company behind the controversial dollar-pegged digital token USDT. The companies share the same chief executive officer.
Tether has previously faced criticism that it does not have enough dollar holdings to back all of its tokens. Some critics have argued that the tokens issued by Tether in recent weeks had been used to prop up the price of Bitcoin, especially in times of market weakness. According to a recent report by The New York Times, a growing number of cryptocurrency investors are worried that this might be the case.
CNBC yesterday quoted Ari Paul, chief investment officer at cryptocurrency investment firm BlockTower Capital, who said that “concerns over tether are a minor contributing factor" to Bitcoin’s decline. "After the parabolic rally into mid-January, the market remains generally in corrective mode where minor bearish headlines are piling on to the fearful sentiment," Paul added
In today’s trading, the Bitcoin price stood at $8,323, as of 10:14 GMT. The original cryptocurrency has lost 14.3% of its value in the past 24 hours.
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