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Bitcoin continues its slide, hovering around $7K

The largest digital currency suffers another blow amid tougher regulations in Asia, losing two-thirds of its value from mid-December.


Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bitcoin's downhill slope is getting steeper.

The cryptocurrency on Tuesday dropped below $7,000 for the first time since last November, according to Bloomberg. It has since rebounded above that line, amid continuing volatility,

Its low for the day was much deeper, hitting just below the $6,000 mark, losing two-thirds from its all-time high of nearly $20,000 in mid-December. That's a nearly 20 percent drop from the previous day. Alternative coins such as Ripple, Ether and Litecoin also dropped significantly from their December values.

Bitcoin is a digital, decentralized alternative to traditional currency, with no government, bank or other authority that controls it. Owners are anonymous, buyers and sellers are connected through encryption keys, and bitcoin is "mined" by powerful computers connected to the internet. (For a more complete rundown, see "What is bitcoin? Here's everything you need to know.")

The mood has been quickly changing around cryptocurrencies, which are suffering from tougher regulatory scrutiny from governments in China, India and South Korea. The countries point to money laundering, tax evasion and heavy speculation of using cryptocurrencies as major concerns.

Speaking Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany, Augustin Carstens, the head of the Bank for International Settlements called bitcoin a combination of "a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster," according to a report in The Guardian.

Early last week, Facebook banned ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, saying such ads are "frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices."

Despite the turmoil, Bitcoin is still up dramatically from the $1,000 it traded at a little more than a year ago.

Originally published Feb. 5 at 10:11 a.m. PT.
Updated Feb. 6 at 8:37 a.m. PT:  Added background information and updated bitcoin value.

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