Bitcoin down for a fifth day as China cracks down on cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin slid for the fifth day, the longest losing streak in more than a year, after one of China's largest online exchanges said it would stop handling trades by the end of the month as a government crackdown on cryptocurrencies continued.

BTC China will immediately stop accepting new account registrations on its BTC China Exchange, chief executive Bobby Lee said yesterday in a tweet. The decision was made after ''carefully considering'' the 4 September announcement by Chinese regulators that outlawed initial coin offerings, he added. 

The cryptocurrency is down 27 per cent since 7 September after rising more than four-fold this year amid greater acceptance of the blockchain technology that underpins the exchange method, global political uncertainty and increased interest in Asia. (See: Digital currency Bitcoin crossess record $4,000)

China accounts for about 23 per cent of bitcoin trades and it has also many of the world's biggest bitcoin miners, who use vast amounts of computing power to confirm transactions in the digital currency.

According to Bloomberg News' report on Monday, China will ban trading of bitcoin and other virtual currencies on domestic exchanges. According to people familiar to the matter, the ban will only apply to trading of cryptocurrencies on exchanges, Bloomberg reported quoting people who requested not to be named. However, authorities do not have plans to stop over-the-counter transactions, according to the people.

BTC China said on its website it will ''stop all trading business'' on 30 September, Associated Press reported. According to the exchange the move was ''in the spirit of'' a central bank ban last week on initial coin offerings but it gave no indication it received a direct order to close.

Two business newspapers reported yesterday that Chinese bitcoin exchanges were asked verbally by regulators in Shanghai, the country's financial centre to close.

According to Chinese business news magazine, Caixin, at one point up to 90 per cent of global trading took place in China.