Bitcoin selloff accelerates as credit-card issuers extend ban

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Bitcoin declined for a fifth day, breaking below $7,500 and leading other digital tokens lower, as Lloyds Banking Group Plc joined a growing number of big credit-card issuers halting purchases of cryptocurrencies on their cards.

The biggest digital currency sank as much as 16 percent to $7,175 as of 10:28 a.m. in New York, according to composite Bloomberg pricing. It has erased more than 60 percent of its value from a record high $19,511 in December. Rival coins also retreated on Monday, with Ripple losing as much as 14 percent and Ethereum and Litecoin also weaker.

Bitcoin’s longest run of losses since Christmas day has coincided with investors exiting risky assets across the board, with stocks globally retreating in the wake of a slump in U.S. markets Friday. Bitcoin so far seems to be struggling to live up to any comparison with gold as a store of value, which is an argument made by some of its supporters. Bullion edged higher as other safe havens -- the yen, Swiss franc and European bonds -- also gained.

Weeks of negative news and commercial setbacks have buffeted digital tokens. A growing number of big credit-card issuers have said they’re halting purchases of cryptocurrencies on their cards, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. Several cited risk aversion and a desire to protect their customers.

Meanwhile, North Korea is trying to hack South Korea’s cryptocurrency-related programs to steal digital currencies and has already stolen tens of billions of won worth, Yonhap News reported. And authorities in digital-coin powerhouse South Korea and other countries are weighing increased regulatory scrutiny of the industry, news which helped spark the ongoing selloff.

Bloomberg News
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