Bitcoin prices have crashed 18% from the start of this week, plunging from $13,585 to $11,117 (at the time of writing) according to Coindesk. Even sharper dips were seen in smaller rivals such as Ripple and Ethereum. The latest dip has been triggered by regulatory clampdowns in South Korea and China.
The country which once accounted for 80% of trading in the virtual currency had previously banned bitcoin exchanges in the country. In this latest action, the Chinese authorities have moved to block access to exchange-like platforms situated both onshore and offshore. Bloomberg reports that the country also plans to move against market-makers and entities offering trading services in bitcoin. However small peer-to-peer transactions will not be targeted.
In recent weeks, South Korean tax authorities raided its major exchanges. In media comments, the South Korean finance minister said that the government shutting down illegal currency exchanges remains a possibility. However, CNBC reports that an online petition with more than 200,000 signatures has reached the South Korean President’s office asking for bitcoin trading to be permitted.
Bitcoin remains neither legal or illegal in India. A committee appointed by the government to study the phenomenon has submitted its report. However, no government action has yet been announced. The RBI has previously issued statements clarifying that bitcoin is not legal tender in India. The Ministry of Finance has also called cryptocurrencies ‘Ponzi Schemes’ and said that individuals are investing in them at their own risk.
Bitcoin trading is permitted in the US and other western nations as well as Japan. The cryptocurrency’s futures are also traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) under the ticker ‘XBT’. Russia is reportedly planning a law to legalize and regulate cryptocurrency exchanges.
Should you buy the dip?
There is little to stop Bitcoin from falling further given its gravity-defying 20x price rise last year. However, if you are willing to take the risk, this may be a good buying window. Similar crashes in the cryptocurrency, most notably after the collapse of the largest bitcoin exchange, MtGox in 2014 were followed by spectacular recoveries. The bitcoin price fell from about $1,000 to as little as $250 in 2015 after the MtGox collapse. Within a mere two years, it had gone up 80 times to $20,000 in December 2017.
Remember of course that bitcoin trades at a premium in India. Converting its USD price, it translates to Rs 710,765 per bitcoin in India. However, due to the supply-demand gap in the country, its actual INR price is much higher. The price of bitcoin averaged Rs 873,858 on Unocoin at the time of writing.
(Disclosure: This article is not a recommendation to buy the cryptocurrency or any other asset class mentioned on this website. This article is only for information purposes, and neither the author nor the website is responsible for any losses (or for that matter, gains) you may suffer from investing in cryptocurrencies or any asset classes mentioned on this website.)