Beijing orders exchanges to stop trading in bitcoin amid fears increasing number of consumers in market could spark wider financial problems

The value of bitcoin has collapsed below $3,000 (£2,200) after Chinese authorities announced a crackdown on the digital currency.

The virtual currency, which emerged in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, fell as low as $2,972 on Friday – a drop of 40% from a high of $5,000 earlier this month. The drop came after Beijing ordered cryptocurrency exchanges to stop trading and block new registrations, due to fears that increasing number of consumers piling into the market could spark wider financial problems.

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