Bitcoin has a terrible year in 201
The digital currency has plunged by around 50% since the beginning of the year, falling below $ 7,000 on Friday morning in Asia. Less than four months ago, it was just under $ 20,000.
The recent losses are followed by moves to strengthen the regulation of cryptocurrencies in Europe and Asia.
Two virtual currency exchanges were closed in Japan this week, with the country's Financial Services Inspectorate increasingly being put to the test. The trading platforms, Mr. Exchange and Tokyo Gateway, failed to obtain a license from Japan's Financial Services Agency.
The "regulatory constraint in Japan is a massive negative blow," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at Forex broker Oanda.
Related: What is Bitcoin?
Japan is one of the countries where trade in Bitcoin and other digital currencies exploded over the past year, helping to push prices higher as both mother and child investors increased.  According to the industry website CryptoCompare, almost half of Bitcoin's worldwide trading was in Japanese yen.
The Japanese government officially recognized Bitcoin as a form of currency last year and began licensing. But regulators have tightened the industry's investigation after around 530 million dollars was stolen from a stock exchange in digital currency in January.
New rules in Europe that limit the amount of money that investors can borrow to trade cryptocurrencies could also weigh on the Bitcoin price, Innes said, betting that it will continue to fall.
Other popular virtual currencies such as Ethereum and Ripple have also recently collapsed.
Related: So, why should not I buy Bitcoin?
Bitcoin suffered a series of setbacks this year.
Earlier this week, Twitter ( announced that it would no longer run ads linked to cryptocurrencies. Both ) Facebook ( and ) Google  ( have announced similar advertising bans, including initials for coin deals , a fundraising method with cryptocurrencies. )
Related: Four Things About Your Cryptocurrency at Tax Time
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has been trying to curb trading in cryptocurrency in recent months, saying investors should only buy and sell it to registered companies exchanges.
Bitcoin has recovered from steep declines in the past. It dropped below $ 7,000 in early February before rebounding over $ 11,000 later in the month.
And by Friday afternoon in Asia, it had recovered some of its earlier losses to save over $ 7,000 again.
– CNN's Emiko Jozuka contributed to this report.
CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published March 30, 2018: 5:08 AM ET