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Bitcoin plunges as lawmakers threaten regulations

Bitcoin plunged nearly 13 % on Wednesday after Capitol Hill lawmakers weighed a move to regulate the nascent crypto-asset space.

Members of the House Financial Services Committee met with crypto-experts to discuss probable risks posed to investors.

“Cryptocurrencies are a crock … what social advantage do they provide? … You’re gambling on its value for no social benefit,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said at a hearing. “They’re popular with guys who sit in their pajamas and tell their wives they’re going to be millionaires.”

Bitcoin’s price, which was already weighed down by Google’s decision to ban ads for cryptocurrency-related products — as well as bearish analyst reports — was off nearly 13 %, to $7,979.58, at 5:56 p.m., according to CoinDesk data.

The cryptocurrency traded as high as $20,000 in December but has hovered around $10,000 in recent weeks.

There were some on the committee who have a more favorable outlook on crypto-assets.

“How do we secure customers without strangling technology that has great potential?” Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), chair of the Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment Subcommittee, told The Post following the hearing.

Huizenga was pointing to blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin, as being transformative.

At the end of the two-hour hearing, there were few answers on how to treat crypto-assets and related products.

“There still isn’t clarity,” Huizenga said. “It wasn’t expected we’d have that riddle solved, but it is important to have the conversation.”

 

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