Bitcoin tumbled to its lowest levelsince February as the meltdown in the world's largest digitalcurrency accelerated, renewing concern about the long-termviability of the much-hyped alternative to traditional currencies.The priceof the digital coin fell as much as 4.6 percent Tuesday to$6,450.01, bringing the slide for the year to more than 50 percent.It's down from a record high of $19,511 reached in December, theculmination of the more than 1,400 percent surge seen in 2017 asbitcoin burst into the mainstream.“I don't think this is driven onany particular news, just the general downtrend after the 2017run,” Kyle Samani, managing partner at Austin, Texas-based cryptohedge fund Multicoin Capital, said in an email. “A lot of peoplewho bought at $9,000 in April are realizing that they're not goingto break even anytime soon and are instead trying to getout.”Cryptocurrencies have been besetby a string of bad news. Most recently was the “cyber intrusion” onthe South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail this past weekendthat appeared to result in a loss of an unknown quantity of digitalcurrency. Bitcoin slumped 12 percent on Monday.Exchanges have comeunder growing scrutiny around the world in recent months amid arange of issues including thefts, market manipulation, and moneylaundering. Back in May, the sector found itself under increasinggovernment scrutiny when the Justice Department opened up acriminal probe into illegal trading practices that can manipulatethe price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.



“The relative size of this user group raises questions,” SusanEustis, president of WinterGreen Research Inc., said in an email.“As cryptocurrency venues have come under growing scrutiny aroundthe world in recent months—amid a range of issues including thefts,market manipulation, and money laundering—the base of the bitcoinappeal has eroded.”Skeptics have remained vocal. Bitcoin got nolove from two of the world's wealthiest men, Bill Gates and WarrenBuffett, with the latter calling the currency "probably rat poisonsquared” last month.In China, the Communist Party-run People'sDaily reported on June 7 that the country will continue to crackdown on illegal fundraising and risks linked to Internet finance,quoting central bank officials. The nation's cleanup of initialcoin offerings (ICOs) and bitcoin exchanges has almost beencompleted, the newspaper said, citing Sun Hui, an official at theShanghai branch of the central bank.

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