The crypto markets are reeling amid rumors that the U.S. Treasury Department may soon accuse a number of financial institutions of using digital assets to launder money.
The popular Twitter account FXHedge was first to cover the potential move from the agency, sending an alert out to 122,700 followers.
The tweet, which cites unnamed sources, quickly went viral.
U.S. TREASURY TO CHARGE SEVERAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING USING CRYPTOCURRENCIES -SOURCES
— FXHedge (@Fxhedgers) April 18, 2021
Minutes after the tweet was published, the crypto markets plunged into deep red territory, with Bitcoin dropping from about $59,000 to a low of $52,800.
Ethereum dropped from about $2260 to a low of $1,970 and Binance Coin fell from about $501 to a low of $440, according to CoinGecko.
The move triggered at least $7.9 billion in liquidations, according to the analytics tracker Bybt.
The U.S. Treasury has accused individuals of using crypto assets to launder money in the past.
Back in March of 2020, the agency sanctioned two Chinese nationals and accused them of laundering stolen cryptocurrency on behalf of Lazarus – a group the FBI has labeled as a North Korean state-sponsored hacking organization.
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