Bitcoin plunges below $6,000 amid security, regulatory concerns

The value of bitcoin fell below the $6,000 threshold on Friday, plunging to its lowest level since November 2017 as cybersecurity concerns and the threat of regulation weighed on the once-booming cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin sank more than 3% and was trading at $5,880 as of late Friday afternoon, according to CoinBase data. The cryptocurrency is down more than 70% from its December 2017 peak, when the price of one bitcoin skyrocketed above $19,000.

Critics of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general have long said that the lack of regulation and oversight left the digital currency susceptible to theft, illicit market activity and other scams. The latest declines followed reports that two South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked, Bloomberg reported.

Several countries, including China and Japan, have also launched significant crackdowns on cryptocurrencies as investors flocked to the fledging industry. Bloomberg said that hundreds of other cryptocurrencies were essentially worthless as of Friday.

Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was ousted from his role in May amid allegations that he physically assaulted four women, launched an inquiry into 13 cryptocurrency exchanges in April to improve transparency and ensure that consumers were protected.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are subject to extreme trading volatility. The flagship digital currency is still more than 130% more valuable than it was at the same time one year ago, according to Coinbase.