The price of bitcoin keeps tumbling, dipping below $8,000 for the first time since November, following a wave of negative press stories regarding cryptocurrencies.
At the time of writing, 10.45am EST on February 5, the price of bitcoin was $7,410, according to Coindesk, down from $10,166 at the end of January and down from $13,412 at the start of 2018.
On January 30, Facebook announced in a blog post by Rob Leathern, its product management director, that it has banned advertising for cryptocurrency products on the social media platform.
“We’ve created a new policy that prohibits ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency,” says Leathern in the blog.
Meanwhile, a growing number of credit card providers and major banks have banned customers from using their credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies, reportedly over concerns about potential losses as the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continues to trend sharply downwards.
Last week, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Citigroup said that they’re halting purchases of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on their credit cards. In the UK, Lloyds Banking Group has followed suit, with its ban on cryptocurrencies coming into effect today, February 5.
In each case, bank clients are still able to purchase cryptocurrencies with their debit cards.
Capital One Financial and Discover Financial Services – two large credit card providers in the US – have previously said that they aren’t supporting cryptocurrency transactions.
Reports also emerged on February 4 that Chinese authorities were taking the next step in their crackdown on cryptocurrencies by blocking all websites related to cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICOs), including foreign platforms.
The South China Morning Post cites a publication that it says is affiliated with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) as saying that Chinese authorities are planning measures to remove any onshore or offshore platforms related to virtual currency trading or ICOs.
The publication also notes that the major social media platforms and Internet search engines in China no longer appear to return paid searches or advertisements relating to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, after the PBoC banned fundraising through digital currencies last September.
And finally, there has been confusion over the regulatory status and future of cryptocurrency trading in India.
The Ministry of Finance last week said that it does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender and that it intends to ban the usage of cryptocurrencies in financial crimes and illicit activities.
This prompted some media outlets to report that the government was planning to ban the entire market, causing confusion and generating pushback from executives of the Indian cryptocurrency exchanges who insisted that this did not represent a change from the ministry’s previously stated position.
Now, according to a report from Reuters, a finance ministry official on Monday said that India is planning steps to ensure cryptocurrencies are illegal within its payments system, while at the same time appointing a regulator to oversee unregulated exchanges that offer cryptocurrency trading.
Unsurprisingly, Twitter has been awash with speculation about future price movements in the cryptocurrency markets.
“Bitcoin down to $7300 now. Wil [sic] it hit a 6K handle today? For sure unless the usual criminal wash traders manipulate it up. And tomorrow a big CFTC/SEC hearing in Congress on cryptoscams…be ready for more of a crypto bloodbath…” tweeted Nouriel Roubini, a professor at Stern School, New York University and chairman of Roubini Macro Associates.