by: Jayson Derrick, Benzinga Staff Writer
Prices of major cryptocurrencies tumbled more than 9 percent Wednesday on a new round of regulatory crackdowns in the U.S. and Japan and rumors that popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been hacked.
What’s Going On?
According to Business Insider, Binance users have been complaining on Reddit and Twitter of strange activity in their Binance accounts today, including reports of altcoins being sold at market price and/or exchanged for bitcoin.
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said online cryptocurrency trading platforms must register with the SEC or face additional scrutiny.
“The SEC staff has concerns that many online trading platforms appear to investors as SEC-registered and regulated marketplaces when they are not,” the SEC said in a statement.
Financial regulators in Japan also say they plan to punish several cryptocurrency exchanges after they uncovered security flaws and activity that violates customer-protection and anti-money laundering regulations. Reuters reports Japan’s Financial Services Agency plans to suspend the businesses of certain exchanges. It will also reportedly increase regulation on Coincheck, which was the target of a hack earlier this year that resulted in the theft of $530 million in digital currency.
Why It’s Important
Bitcoin prices have been under severe pressure in recent months on growing concerns about security and international regulation. A potential Binance hack or trading software glitch has traders on edge about crypto security, while the Japanese crackdown has them concerned about even more regulation.
Shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust GBTC plummeted 12.3 percent and are now down32.3 percent year-to-date. Bitcoin prices dropped below $10,000 and are now down roughly 50 percent since peaking at nearly $19,000 in December.
A Binance representative reportedly told users on Reddit the exchange is aware of the reports and is investigating the matter.
“Our team is aware and investigating the issue as we speak,” the representative said. “Please remain patient and we will provide an update as quickly as possible.”
In the past seven days, the price of bitcoin has fallen another 8.4 percent. Ethereum prices are down 16.4 percent, Ripple prices are down 9.3 percent and Bitcoin Cash prices are down 14.4 percent.
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