Bitcoin slumped more than 10percent over the weekend to a two-week low. Photo: File
INTERNATIONAL - Bitcoin slumped more than 10percent over the weekend to a two-week low as fears of a crackdown of cryptocurrencies grew on mounting scrutiny of Facebook’s planned Libra digital coin. 

Bitcoin fell 11.1percent from Friday to $9.85 (R136.69) early yesterday, its lowest since July 2. The original cryptocurrency slumped 10.4percent on Sunday, its second-biggest daily drop this year. 

Politicians and financial regulators across the world have called for scrutiny of Facebook’s Libra coin, with concerns ranging from consumer protection and privacy to its potential systemic risks, given the social media giant’s global reach. 

US President Donald Trump criticised bitcoin, Libra and other cryptocurrencies last week, demanding that firms seek a banking charter and subject themselves to US and global regulations if they wanted to “become a bank”. 

Bitcoin, which initially shrugged off Trump’s tweet, fell sharply after US Federal Reserve chairperson Jerome Powell called for a halt to Facebook’s project until concerns from privacy to money-laundering were addressed. “They have increased the risk that the US will look to crack down on,” said Jamie Farquhar of crypto firm NKB Group in London. 

The Japanese authorities have set up a working group to look at Libra’s possible impact on monetary policy and financial regulation. 

Reuters African News Agency (ANA)