Bitcoin plunges sharply and suddenly

© Reuters/Mark Blinch, A bitcoin sign seen in a window in Toronto.


Bitcoin () plunged by more than $100 in a matter of minutes on Tuesday morning. The cryptocurrency was down about 1.5% at $1,260 a coin just after 6 a.m. ET before tumbling below $1,160 within 30 minutes. As of 7:12 a.m. ET it was down 5%, or $62, near $1,218 a coin.

While no headlines can be directly tied to the plunge, about two hours earlier a Bloomberg headline cited a People’s Bank of China official as suggesting the recent bitcoin regulation wasn’t temporary.

The PBOC recently announced it was cracking down on bitcoin trading, and China’s largest bitcoin exchanges have since introduced a flat 0.2% fee on each transaction and announced a blockage of withdrawals.

Tuesday’s sell-off could also be tied to nervousness over a coming Securities and Exchange Commission ruling. The SEC is expected to issue a ruling on whether it will approve at least one of the three proposed bitcoin-focused exchange-traded funds by a Saturday deadline.

The price of bitcoin has rallied 27% in 2017 after gaining 120% in 2016. Bitcoin has been the top-performing currency in each of the past two years.

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