China tightens ban on cryptocurrencies

A barrage of bad news continues to batter bitcoin.

China on Tuesday banned its financial institutions and payment companies from offering any services involving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, including registrations, trading, clearing and settlement.

Three Chinese industry bodies: The National Internet Finance Association of China, the China Banking Association and the Payment and Clearing Association of China said virtual currencies "are not supported by real value," and railed against what it called speculative trading that is "disrupting the normal economic and financial order."

China has already banned crypto exchanges and initial coin offerings but Chinese buyers can still get their hands on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Nevertheless, the statement was another drag on bitcoin which has lost about one-third of its value since hitting a high just under $65,000 in mid April.

Selling picked up pace last week when Elon Musk said Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment, citing the large energy use needed to mine bitcoin.

Other cryptos like ethereum have seen their value decline as well, but not as much as bitcoin.

Bitcoin's lead as the world's biggest cryptocurrency has diminished with its share of the crypto market dropping to 45 percent from 70 percent earlier this year, according to U.S. researcher Coin Metrics, as investors look for bigger returns from other so-called alt-coins like ethereum, doge, and a number of other lesser-known cryptos.