Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins placed on Dollar banknotes.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ DADO RUVIC)
LONDON - Bitcoin slid as much as 14 percent on Tuesday to hit a four-week low below $12,000, as fears grew of a regulatory crackdown after reports that South Korea's finance minister had said banning trading in cryptocurrencies was still an option.
South Korean news website Yonhap reported that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon had told a local radio station that the government would be coming up with a set of measures to clamp down on the "irrational" cryptocurrency investment craze.
Bitcoin slid on the news, trading as low as $11,730 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, down 13.6 percent on the day.
The latest tumble leaves bitcoin more than 40 percent down from the record highs of around $20,000 reached in mid-December, wiping about $125 billion from its "market cap" - the price of bitcoin multiplied by the total number of bitcoins that have been "mined", or released into the market.