The Bitcoin price dove below $9,700 on Thursday following reports that India may take a hard line against cryptocurrency usage to combat its use in “illegitimate” enterprises.
As CCN reported, Arun Jaitley, India’s finance minister, criticized cryptocurrencies during a speech before the country’s parliament. Jaitley, who was ostensibly presenting the Union Budget, took time to state that the government does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender and that regulators will take “all measures” to eliminate their use in criminal activities.
The finance minister did not list any concrete measures that the government intended to take to curb this alleged usage of cryptocurrencies in nefarious enterprises, and — importantly — he did not float a Bitcoin ban. However, because India accounts for approximately 10 percent of all Bitcoin transactions — the statement appears to have placed more downward pressure on an already-heavy cryptoasset marketplace.
In the few hours following the finance minister’s statement, the cryptocurrency market cap has declined from $515 billion to $489 billion, a reduction of approximately five percent.
Bitcoin Price Dips Below $9,700
January proved to be one of Bitcoin’s worse months in recent memory, as a variety of factors converged to erase the tail end of the asset’s remarkable 2017 rally.
Unfortunately, the flagship cryptocurrency does not appear to have shaken off those woes upon entering February, and growing regulatory concerns have reduced the Bitcoin price to a present value of $9,643. This translates into a $161.5 billion market cap and represents a single-day decline of six percent.
However, in the case of India, it appears that many media outlets are inaccurately reporting that regulators are seeking to enforce a Bitcoin ban, which is likely driving the Bitcoin price decline further than the finance minister’s statement would have otherwise. It would not be surprising if the market sees a bounce as more accurate information circulates among traders and investors.
Ethereum Quietly Gains on Bitcoin
Ethereum, meanwhile, continued to quietly gain on Bitcoin in the competition for the largest circulating market cap. While all other top cryptocurrencies posted dismal performances, the Ethereum price managed to rise just above its previous day level. At present, the Ethereum price is $1,122 on Bitfinex, which translates into a $109.3 billion market cap and represents a 22 percent share of the total cryptoasset market.
Altcoins Continue to Bleed
Ripple, which boasts the third-largest market cap, saw its price decline by seven percent to $1.04, while both Bitcoin Cash and Cardano endured eight percent hits.
EOS posted a top 10-worst nine percent decline, and Stellar, NEO and Litecoin all experienced seven percent pullbacks.
NEM, meanwhile, declined by four percent to $0.74 to round out the top 10.
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