Bitcoin Is Dropping Again. This Time, Look to Japan

January 26, 2018, 11:40 AM UTC

It’s Bitcoin drop time again, kids. This time it’s down 7% against the dollar—while rivals Ethereum and Ripple are down 5.5% and 12% respectively. Bitcoin is currently trading at $10,570.

The cause seems clear: Coincheck, one of Japan’s largest bitcoin exchanges, has abruptly stopped letting customers withdraw their money and halted Bitcoin trading. It’s also frozen trading in the NEM cryptocurrency, which is as a result down 16.5%.

The Tokyo-based exchange announced its moves in a blog post without explaining its reasons.

According to Bloomberg, Coincheck does not have a license from the Japanese financial regulator, but is nonetheless one of the country’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges.

Meanwhile, if that wasn’t enough to make cryptocurrency investors nervous, the U.S. Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence has reportedly been telling banks and financial regulators across Asia that they need to do more to introduce oversight of cryptocurrency activities.

According to The Washington Post, Sigal Mandelker said “we need to have this kind of regulation all over the world.”

Japanese regulators are ahead of the pack on this one, and their South Korean counterparts caused Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to seriously plunge in the last couple months by cracking down on anonymous trading and even threatening to shutter exchanges, China-style.