Bitcoin drops below $15,000 as South Korea reviews accounts

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest virtual currency by market value, was last down 7.57 pct at $14,902.99 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

Bitcoin medals. Picture: AFP

NEW YORK - Bitcoin fell below $15,000 (approximately R185,000) on Monday after South Korea’s financial regulator said it and other agencies are inspecting six local banks that offer digital currency accounts to institutions.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest virtual currency by market value, was last down 7.57 pct at $14,902.99 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission warned that investors should “exercise caution” with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, noting state and federal regulators may not be able to recoup any lost investments from illegal actors.

Many promoters of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other cryptocurrency investments are not following federal and state securities laws, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Commissioners Kara Stein and Michael Piwowar said in a statement. While regulators are trying to police these quickly growing markets, the SEC urged investors to be vigilant.

“The SEC and state securities regulators are pursuing violations, but we again caution you that, if you lose money, there is a substantial risk that our efforts will not result in a recovery of your investment,” the officials said.