Cryptocurrency markets continued this year’s losing streak on Monday as Bitcoin fell as much as 9 per cent to trade below the psychological barrier of US$ 5,000 at one point. Other cryptocurrencies, or “Alt-Coins”, fell even more. These mounting losses come close on the heels of increased regulatory pressure on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and the split of a major token, Bitcoin Cash, as per a South China Morning Post report.
Bitcoin’s value dropped to a low of US$4,958 during the day. Ether tumbled close to 12 per cent while Litecoin lost 13 per cent of its value. XRP, the token created for the Ripple platform, was the only gainer among the top cryptocurrencies. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index reached a one-year-low, down almost 8.3 per cent.
This was also the first time in over a year that Bitcoin’s market capitalisation fell below US$100 billion. “The sell-off is related to enforcement, which is almost certainly underway,” remarked Justin Litchfield, chief technology officer at ProChain Capital. The US Securities & Exchange Commission has been cracking down on ICOs, which have failed to register themselves as securities.
Airfox and Paragon Coin Inc, two such as ICOs were each handed penalties of US $250,000 compensate investors, and will also be required to register themselves as securities. Almost US$660 billion of investors’ money has been wiped off on the cryptocurrency markets from a January peak, as per data from CoinMarketCap.com.
The hard fork of Bitcoin Cash- itself an offshoot of Bitcoin, is also blamed as a cause for increased pessimism. Thomas J. Lee, managing partner at Fundstrat Global Advisors , said in a note that ,“Crypto-specific events have led to greater uncertainty in the crypto market, including the contentious hard fork for bitcoin cash.”
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