Bitcoin falls back below $9000 after Japan adds to regulatory uncertainty

Bitcoin failed to hold above $9,000 on Thursday after reports of increased scrutiny on cryptocurrencies by Japanese regulators.

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The cryptocurrency hit a low of $8,630 and was trading 2 percent lower near $8,700 as of 9:29 a.m. ET, according to CoinDesk’s bitcoin price index.

Bitcoin has struggled to recover the $9,000 level after tumbling from a short-term high of $11,660 earlier this month. It remains about 18.6 percent above its low of $7,335.57 hit over the weekend.

Bitcoin 24-hour performance

Source: CoinDesk

Japan’s Financial Services Agency plans to issue a warning against Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance for operating in the country without registration, Reuters reported Thursday, citing a source familiar with the matter. If Binance does not heed the warning, the agency will file a criminal complaint, the source told the newswire. Nikkei first reported the news.

“We are in constructive dialog[ues] with Japan FSA, and have not received any mandates,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet. Binance is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

Japan requires cryptocurrency exchanges to register with the government.

Separately, a local media report said Japan’s National Police Agency has found 149 cases of cryptocurrency hacks last year, for a loss of 662.4 million yen ($6.3 million) primarily involving ripple. The agency did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment outside of Japanese business hours.

On Monday, Japan’s Financial Services Agency said it held a “Blockchain Round-Table” on March 8 and 9 with regulators and policymakers from countries such as Singapore and Canada. The agenda for the closed-door meeting included discussion of vulnerability issues of the public blockchain and coordination between regulators and academia.

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