A ‘Buy Bitcoin Here’ sign is posted at a 7-Eleven store on November 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fell sharply on Tuesday, retreating from near-record highs.

The world’s largest digital coin briefly fell below $60,000 during morning trade London time, slipping as low as $58,702 at one point.

It later recovered some of those loses and was 5.2% lower at $60,595.44 as of 4:10 p.m. ET, according to Coin Metrics data.

Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, fell 6.8% to $4,254.74.

The impetus behind the price movement was not clear.

China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said during a press conference Tuesday that it will continue to clean up virtual currency mining in the country.

Earlier this year, China cracked down on bitcoin mining leading to an exodus of miners. Mining is the energy-intensive process which both creates new coins and maintains a log of all transactions of existing digital tokens. 

Beijing is concerned about the amount of energy being used by mining.

Mining “causes large energy consumption and carbon emission. It has no active impact to lead industry development or scientific progress,” NDRC spokesperson Meng Wei said on Tuesday, according to a CNBC translation of her Mandarin comments.

“Regulating cryptocurrency mining activities has significant meaning in optimizing our industrial structure, saving energy and cutting emission, achieving carbon emission and neutrality goals.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping said last year that China aims
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