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Cryptocurrency Doors Close in Asia, Open in U.S.

Major cryptocurrencies rebounded sharply after a steep mid-week selloff on concerns about regulatory crackdowns in South Korea. After briefly dipping to near $9,000 this week, bitcoin traded near $12,000 on Friday as investors turned their attention away from Asian government crackdowns and focused on some new cryptocurrency-related options for U.S. investors.

This week's selloff was triggered by reports that South Korea is considering following China's lead and shutting down all domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. South Korea accounts for up to 12 percent of all global bitcoin trading, according to CryptoCompare.

[See: 7 of the Best Stocks to Buy for 2018.]

Despite concerns in Asia, U.S. investors now have some new ways to invest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

First, pair of new blockchain-focused exchange-traded funds hit the market this week. The Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (ticker: BLCN) and the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) began trading on Wednesday. The ETFs invest in companies focused on blockchain technology, the underlying decentralized public ledger system responsible for the unique security of cryptocurrency transactions.

In addition to the two new ETFs, British cryptocurrency wallet Blockchain officially launched in the U.S. on Thursday. Blockchain could potentially rival Coinbase as the leading service to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly in the U.S. market.

The new digital wallet and new ETF options are helping to open up the U.S. cryptocurrency market for Americans who have previously had limited investment options. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Comission has yet to approve a bitcoin ETF listing on a major exchange due to concerns about investor safety. The Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) trades on the lightly regulated over-the-counter market.

[Read: What's the Best Bitcoin Wallet?]

"The regulatory fears have been a big hit to sentiment, but in my view it's temporary," Brian Kelly, CEO of BKCM says, according to CNBC. "There is a handoff taking place from Asian investors who are being prohibited from investing to U.S. and Japanese investors, who are just beginning to discover the asset class."

Volatility is nothing new to cryptocurrency investors, but the general trend has been negative in recent weeks. In the past month, the Bitcoin Investment Trust is down more than 30 percent.



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