As Wall Street readies for a long weekend, bitcoin traders weren't celebrating.
The No. 1 cryptocurrency by market cap tumbled Thursday as regulatory concerns came back into focus and a key technical level looked too close for comfort.
Here are the most important stories in cryptocurrency for Thursday, March 29.
Prices Near Death Cross
Bitcoin prices dropped more than 5% in early trading Thursday to slip below the $7,500 mark. Thursday morning's decline sent bitcoin to its lowest price since early February, bringing 2018 losses to as much as 48% in earlier trading. This quarter's major decline is the largest in the span of a single three-month period since 2011. The decline Thursday brought bitcoin close to breaking below its 200-day moving average as well. Should bitcoin reach close to $7,240, the cryptocurrency's 50-day moving average could break below its 200-day moving average, a phenomenon traders refer to as the "death cross." According to Coindesk's statistics, bitcoin fell as low as $7,330 Thursday, putting it within striking distance of the ominously named technical level.
U.K. Issues Warning
The Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom issued a statement Thursday warning investors about an unregistered brokerage dealer in Bulgaria that was allegedly offering U.K. citizens cryptocurrency derivative products without regulation. The firm, called Olsson Capital, was said to offer products tethered to a number of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, dash, ethereum and litecoin. "This firm is not authorized by us and is targeting people in the U.K.," the regulator wrote. "Based upon information we hold, we believe it is carrying on unregulated activities which require authorization." Olsson was said to lack appropriate registration as a licensed broker with the FCA.
China Says Crypto a Risk
The People's Bank of China outlined an agenda for the coming year on Thursday and identified protecting the national currency from digital asset threats as a top priority. The bank's vice governor, Fan Yifei, said that protecting the Chinese yuan from potential cryptocurrency threats will be one of three top priorities in 2018. Fan added that the bank will work with other regulatory bodies to "rectify different kinds of cryptocurrencies."
College Kids Take to Mining
Cybersecurity company Vectra released a report Thursday showing that college students have begun mining cryptocurrencies at a significant rate. Higher education "easily surpassed" all other industries in "cryptocurrency-mining attack behaviors" from August 2017 through January 2018, Vectra found. "Cryptocurrency mining converts electricity to monetary value by using computational resources. This is very expensive to accomplish without a free source of power and a lot of computing resources with minimal security controls that are exposed to the internet. Large student-populations are ideal pastures for cryptojackers," Vectra wrote. Of the top five industries that have shown considerable amounts of crypto mining since August, higher education accounted for 85% of the activity.
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