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Bitcoin tanks 8%, ethereum drops 11% as China intensifies crackdown on cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin and ether tumbled Friday, with traders rattled by tough talk out of China.

The price of bitcoin fell nearly 6% to $42,124.73, according to Coin Metrics data. Ether, the second-largest digital currency, dropped 8% to $2,894.36.

It comes after the People's Bank of China said in a Q&A that all crypto-related activities are illegal. Services offering trading, order matching or derivatives for virtual currencies are strictly prohibited, the PBOC said, while overseas exchanges are also illegal.

Beijing has cracked down sharply on crypto this year. The Chinese government moved to stamp out digital currency mining, the energy-intensive operation that validates transactions and produces new coins. That led to sharp slump in bitcoin's processing power as miners took their equipment offline.

The PBOC banned banks and non-bank payment institutions like Alibaba affiliate Ant Group from providing services related to virtual currency. In July, authorities told a Beijing-based software company to shut down over its involvement with crypto trading.

Constantine Tsavliris, head of research at crypto data site CryptoCompare, said the harsh rhetoric was likely to result in a "short-term sell-off as negative news presses investors to take a conservative approach."

"The recent news by China serves as an extension of previous announcements in May regarding a crackdown on cryptocurrency mining and bans on financial and payment institutions from crypto-related services," Tsavliris told CNBC.

"As a result of the bans, we previously saw a short-term sell-off and a shift in mining away from China, followed by a swift recovery throughout July and August," added.

Vijay Ayyar, head of Asia Pacific at digital currency exchange Luno, said that while China's position on crypto was not new, it was enough to pressure the market. Investors had already been unnerved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission taking a ...

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