Bitcoin fell below US$8 000 for the first time since November as a miserable 2018 continued for cryptocurrencies, with investors confronting a mounting list of concerns about the future of the industry.
Since reaching a record high of $19 511 on 18 December shortly after the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the US, bitcoin has wiped out more than half its value amid waves of negative news.
Setbacks included escalating regulatory threats from authorities around the world including India, South Korea, China and the US, a record $500m heist at Japanese exchange Coincheck, fears of price manipulation and Facebook’s ban on cryptocurrency ads.
Japanese authorities raided Coincheck’s offices Friday morning, a week after the robbery, hauling out documents and computers as evidence. The inspection was conducted to ensure security for users, finance minister Taro Aso said.
“Bitcoin is in trouble,” Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at foreign exchange broker Forextime, wrote in a note on Friday. “Price action suggests that bears are clearly in control, with further losses on the cards as jitters over regulation erode investor appetite further.”
The largest digital currency dropped 16% to $7 643 at 7.47am in New York, the lowest since November, according to consolidated Bloomberg pricing. Rival coins ripple, ether and litecoin tumbled at least 18% as losses continued to spread across cryptocurrencies.
Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Macro Associates said bitcoin is the “mother of all bubbles”, and its bubble is now bursting, speaking in an interview on Bloomberg Television. He said “virtually every” Group of 20 country is talking about cracking down on the phenomenon as policymaker worries grow. — Reported by Eric Lam, Dani Burger and Joanna Ossinger, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP