North Korea accused of hacking cryptocurrency exchanges selling Bitcoin and Monero

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How this will do this exactly remains vague, but according to BBC "the threat of the action has been enough to drive a sell-off across the market globally" and spark a wave of protests across the country.

Bitcoin has slumped about 30 percent this week after South Korea's finance minister said Tuesday the government could still ban trading in virtual currencies, an idea another official discussed last week.

This pushed Bitcoin cryptocurrency below $10,000, half what it was worth at its peak, though it has recovered slightly.

North Korea has been accused of hacking South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges in a series of cyber-heists. These range from concerns about potential bans on trading in the key markets of China and South Korea, to withdrawals to pay for Chinese New Year celebrations, hedge fund market manipulation, the introduction of futures and just general profit-taking.

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Cryptocurrency exchanges allow customers to trade digital currencies for other assets or different digital currencies.

"With reports on a renewed crackdown on the cryptocurrency in China fuelling anxiety over future restrictions, further losses could be on the cards in the near term", added Otunuga, noting the latest wild ride in value "should remind investors on how explosively volatile and unpredictable" cryptocurrencies can be.

This has prompted fears a burst in the Bitcoin bubble could have wide-ranging and potentially devastating effects and stirred the federal authorities into action. Regulators will also target people and companies that provide market-making, settlement and clearing services for centralized trading, the publication said, citing unnamed sources.