The second week of March 2020 will was particularly difficult for digital currency traders and investors. As of March 15, Bitcoin was still trying to inch above $5,500 after having endured a bearish plunge that erased several billion dollars from the market. Just days before the World Health Organization formally declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, better known as COVID-19, to be a pandemic emergency, Wall Street investors were in full panic mode, and some of that nervousness seems to have impacted the cryptocurrency markets.
Even though Bitcoin and the rest of the major digital currencies suffered major losses from March 8 to the 15, the situation was not as dire as it was on Wall Street. Some analysts have commented that the cryptocurrency markets are starting to develop a behavior that is parallel to Wall Street, which suggests greater involvement of institutional investors. Nonetheless, the idea of Bitcoin as an investment commodity for "flight-to-safety" investors was shattered by the events of the week.
In the middle of this volatile and gloomy market, a Republican Congressman from Arizona introduced a legislative proposal that seeks to clarify the status of various digital currencies. At the same time, state legislators in Rhode Island are pushing a bill that would make the Ocean State one of the friendliest jurisdictions for blockchain developers. In South Korea, the government took a significant step towards legalizing the use and exchange of cryptocurrencies; however, the Know-Your-Customer reporting requirements implemented by new laws will limit the operations of some online exchange platforms.
In France, banking giant BNP Paribas has placed restrictions on clients who had previously used debit cards to fund their Coinbase accounts. Bank executives are calling the world's most active cryptocurrency exchange an illegal operation.
Even during the lockdown period imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial regulators in People's Republic of China has continued to crack down on the use of digital currencies in the mainland. At the same time, the Communist Party still believes that China should become a global leader in cryptocurrency development, and it recently issued a $4.7 million grant to the People's Bank for this purpose.