Cryptocurrency prices went south on Monday after Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) announced that it may conduct on-site inspections of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in response to Coincheck’s $530 million hack. The Bitcoin price led the retreat with a five percent decline, and most other top-tier coins followed suit.
As a rule, Japan has been very welcoming to the nascent cryptocurrency industry, and favorable regulatory policies have enabled the country to become one of the ecosystem’s central hubs.
Consequently, the prospect that Japanese regulators may take a harder stance against cryptocurrency exchanges could be a contributing factor to today’s moderate decline, which reduced the cryptocurrency market cap to $565 billion.
Prior to the downturn, the market had been trading up on the news that stock trading app Robinhood plans to launch commission-free cryptocurrency trading in February for a limited number of customers — a move that will likely present brokerage giant Coinbase with its first legitimate competitor and bring new investors into the marketplace.
On Sunday, the Bitcoin price peaked at $12,190, but it failed to hold above the $12,000 mark and sunk even lower on Monday morning. At present, the Bitcoin price is trading at $11,262 on Bitfinex, which represents a 24-hour decline of five percent and provides the most prominent cryptocurrency with a $189 billion market cap.
The Ethereum price followed a similar trajectory, declining four percent to $1,181 following a significant weekend rally that had lifted it as high as $1,260. Ethereum now has a valuation of $115.3 billion, providing the second-largest cryptocurrency with a 20 percent share of the total cryptocurrency market cap.
Altcoin prices generally tracked the market index on Monday, but two top-tier cryptocurrencies managed to post relatively strong performances.
The first of these was Ripple’s XRP token, whose price declined one percent to $1.26. Despite this pullback, XRP posted the second-best performance among top-10 cryptocurrencies and outperformed the market by three percentage points.
Fourth-ranked Bitcoin Cash was not so lucky, as its price declined five percent to $1,653. Cardano’s seven percent decline was worst among top 10-cryptocurrencies, but EOS and Stellar did not perform much better.
NEO, ranked eighth, was the lone top 10-cryptocurrency to post a single-day advance. The NEO price increased by four percent to just under $155, providing the token with a $10.1 billion market cap.
Litecoin’s five percent decline forced it down to ninth in the market cap rankings, and NEM — still languishing after $530 million worth of tokens were stolen in the Coincheck hack — declined six percent to $0.95.