Bitcoin has so far plunged well below $10,000 today, with all but two of the top 50 cryptocurrencies on the downward spiral, losing some 9-12 percent in hours as rumors swirl of hackers targeting one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin was at just over $9,800, down over 9 percent in 24 hours, while Ripple (XRP) was at $0.8408, down over 8 percent. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was at $1,096, down over 8 percent in 24 hours.
Early on Wednesday, cryptocurrency exchange Binance said it had halted withdrawals to investigate what it called “unauthorized market sells”.
"We are investigating reports of some users having issues with their funds. Our team is aware and investigating the issue as we speak," the exchange said in a statement. "As of this moment, the only confirmed victims have registered API keys (to use with trading bots or otherwise). There is no evidence of the Binance platform being compromised."
Binance customers have complained that the exchange has abruptly started selling their altcoins at market rate without their consent or notification, according to media reports.
One user noted that the exchange sold their altcoins and converted them all to bitcoin.
The plunge comes a week after rumors of a major SEC crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges, to which cryptocurrency prices barely responded.
Last week, reports noted the launch of a crackdown with the SEC reportedly issuing "scores of subpoenas", though the regulatory body has not confirmed this. Related: U.S. Crypto Exchange Faces Insider Trading Charges
In February, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton hinted at a crackdown, telling a Senate hearing:
"With the support of my fellow Commissioners, I have asked the SEC's Division of Enforcement to continue to police these markets vigorously and recommend enforcement actions against those who conduct ICOs ... in violation of the federal securities laws.”
Earlier today, the SEC a new statement on “Potentially Unlawful Online Platforms for Trading Digital Assets”, providing a detailed warning for consumers.
There’s been some other bad news recently, as well, including a class-action lawsuit against Coinbase for alleged insider trading in the Bitcoin-Bitcoin Cash fork.
Ripple is also taking a hit over its lack of inclusion on Coinbase, which is launching a weighted index of cryptocurrencies.
Yesterday, Ripple prices hit a 12-day high of $1.08 until Coinbase used Twitter to close the curtain on that show, saying it wasn’t planning to put Ripple on the list.
By Fred Dunkley for Safeprice.com
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