Bitcoin slides below $6,000; half its value lost in 2018
LONDON - Reuters
Bitcoin has fallen heavily in recent sessions as worries about a regulatory clampdown on the nascent market and panicked investors push prices lower. The virtual currency hit a peak of almost $20,000 in December.
On the Luxembourg-based bitstamp exchange, bitcoin fell to as low as $5,920, its lowest level since mid-November, before recovering slightly. Other cryptocurrencies have also dropped sharply in value this week.
Meanwhile, banks in Britain and the United States have banned the use of credit cards to buy Bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies,” fearing a plunge in their value will leave customers unable to repay their debts.
Lloyds Banking Group Plc, which issues just over a quarter of all credit cards in Britain, and Virgin Money on Feb. 5 said they would ban credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies, following the lead of U.S. banking giants JP Morgan Chase Co and Citigroup.
The move is aimed at protecting customers from running up huge debts from buying virtual currencies on credit, if their values were to plummet, a Lloyds spokeswoman said.
Concerns have arisen among credit card providers because their customers have increasingly been using credit cards to fund accounts on online exchanges, which are then used to purchase the digital currencies.
However, other banks said on Feb. 5 they will continue to allow credit card customers to buy cryptocurrencies.