Over 200000 have signed petition against regulation of cryptocurrencies in South Korea

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Bitcoin tumbled below US$10,000, bringing its loss to nearly 50 per cent from a record set only a month ago, as increased scrutiny from regulators around the world weighs on the digital-coin craze.

Analysts point out that the pullback seems to be coming from a lack of buyers in Asia, particularly the main markets of Japan and South Korea, which a year ago were reportedly accountable for approximately 74per cent of global bitcoin trades.

Bad news from China, which is stepping up its cryptocurrency crackdowns; sabre rattling from South Korea about restrictions; and a general worldwide government fervor to limit, restrict or tax exchanges and other means of transmission are creating a chilling effect.

"Having said that, this narrative has been around for many weeks now and isn't really new but it has once more raised the spectre of tighter regulation on this market".

China and Germany have also indicated they are preparing crackdowns on digital currencies, The Daily Telegraph reports. "The shutdown of virtual currency exchanges is still one of the options", Kim Dong-Yeon, the country's finance minister, said in a radio interview on Tuesday.

Bitcoin was last down 25 percent at US$10,182.00 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

Alongside the dizzying drop in cryptocurrencies, the market demand for gold coins jumped by a factor of five at one of Europe's biggest online dealers. On top of that, Chinese officials are also stepping up efforts to limit cryptocurrency trading, after having already issued a ban on exchanges.

Bitcoin  US Dollar FX Chart Daily
Over 200000 have signed petition against regulation of cryptocurrencies in South Korea

Evercore ISI analyst Rich Ross warns that the 50 percent retracement from the largest cryptocurrency's all-time high heightens the risk that the digital coin will break its 100-day moving average of $8,787. Since then, it's value has risen and dropped sporadically from day to day, dragging smaller cryptocurrencies such as Ether and Ripple along with it.

Ripple is now at $1.06 and could even fall below the $1 mark today.

A recent analysis by the University of Tulsa and Tel Aviv University revealed that Bitcoin's peak value of $1,000 towards the end of 2013 might have actually been the result of market manipulation by the folks at Mt. Gox.

Mr Aguillon, meanwhile, said the expiry date of the first bitcoin futures was approaching, which may also go towards explaining the sell-off.

The price of market leader, Bitcoin, plummeted as much as 18 percent amid renewed concerns about greater government regulation.

Other digital currencies such as Ethereum and Ripple have faced similar losses.

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