Bitcoin briefly broke through the $10,000 mark in early morning trading Thursday, but couldn't hold onto gains long. By afternoon trading, prices dived as low as about $9,300 on some exchanges. Since the start of the year, bitcoin has shed roughly 35% of its value. Here are the stories you need to know for Thursday, March 8.

McAfee's Take on the SEC

Former cybersecurity magnate and current cryptocurrency mega-bull John McAfee said that the recent decree from the Securities and Exchange Commission requiring cryptocurrency platforms to register with regulators is simply the governing body running scared from digital currencies. "The SEC is frightened of losing power. They are reaching, in desperation," McAfee wrote in a statement released on Twitter (TWTR - Get Report) . He continued to explain how most exchanges wouldn't be able to meet the SEC's new standards for registration and concluded by calling on President Donald Trump to step in. McAfee has become a bitcoin evangelist in recent years. In December 2017, he predicted when bitcoin was trading at about $19,000 that it would "never be cheaper" and would trade as much as 10 times that level in 2018.

My response to today's action by the SEC. I predicted that they, in panic at losing their power, would blindly strike out. I also predicted that I would be one of their targets. Rumor has it that I was correct.

— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) March 8, 2018

Coincheck to Compensate

Following the January hack that robbed Coincheck of about 500 million NEM tokens, the Japanese exchange said it will start compensating those affected by the attack for their losses next week. Coincheck executives said in a press conference Thursday that they will release more details on the compensation plan in the coming days, adding that they intend to resume trading services for some cryptocurrencies next week, according to Coindesk. At the time of the Jan. 26 hacking attack, the amount stolen came in around $530 million. Coincheck said shortly after the hack that it intended to pay affected customers 81 cents on the dollar per stolen token in restitution, or about $420 million total.

Japan Shuts Down 2 Exchanges

Japan's Financial Services Agency said on Thursday that it has shut down two small cryptocurrency exchanges for at least one month. The exchanges, FSHO and Bit Station, face a business suspension from the regulator following an earlier FSA mandate stating seven trading platforms in the country must improve their security systems. In the same announcement explaining the business suspensions, the FSA said it has established a cryptocurrency exchange industry study group aimed at solving some of the institutional issues plaguing the burgeoning sector.

Sierra Leone's Secret Blockchain Election

In a heated presidential election that took place Wednesday, March 7, the country of Sierra Leone secretly used blockchain technology to keep track of ballots, according to a report from Coindesk. The country used technology from startup Agora through a proprietary distributed ledger with a private, permissioned blockchain. The technology, which Agora said was inspired by the tech behind blockchain and other digital currencies, allowed Sierra Leone's officials to track the results of the 16-person presidential race in real time. Agora is said to be in talks with a number of other countries about hosting elections in the future.

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