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'panic in the air'

Bitcoin drops after China declares cryptocurrency transactions illegal

China is ramping up its cryptocurrency crackdown.

On Friday, Chinese government agencies declared all cryptocurrency transactions illegal and banned crypto mining across the country, Reuters reports. The People's Bank of China said that the Chinese government would "clamp down on virtual currency speculation, and related financial activities and misbehaviour in order to safeguard people's properties and maintain economic, financial and social order." 

It was an example of China "intensifying its crackdown on cryptocurrencies," CNN wrote, which came after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He previously vowed the government would "clamp down on Bitcoin mining and trading activity." Bitcoin took a hit after Friday's announcement, dropping "as much as 7 percent," The New York Times reports

Vijay Ayyar of the digital currency exchange Luno told CNBC that "Chinese regulators have always been extreme in their views and these comments are not new," but noted that these latest developments came amid a "slightly nervous environment for crypto," meaning "any comments of this nature will cause a sell off in risky assets." 

Joseph Edwards, head of research at Enigma Securities, also told Reuters, "There's a degree of panic in the air. Crypto continues to exist in a grey area of legality across the board in China."