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After several days of rangebound trading, bitcoin's price took a tumble today.

The digital currency's price fell to as little as $1,132.45 by 21:00 UTC, CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) data shows. This daily low represented a more than 10% decline from bitcoin's opening price of $1,259.60.

This sharp drop – which represents the largest intraday loss since the SEC shot down the proposed Winklevoss bitcoin ETF on 10th March – contrasts sharply with bitcoin's behavior over the last several sessions, when it fluctuated between $1,225 and $1,260.

After moving within that reasonably tight range since the start of trading on Monday, bitcoin's price experienced a notable increase in volatility during today's session, falling through the crucial $1,200 level at 19:00 UTC and then dropping through $1,150 at 21:00 UTC. Following this significant, downward movement, the digital currency recovered somewhat, reaching $1,171.47 at the time of report.

The day's sharp declines took place amid high trading volume.

Market participants traded roughly 48,000, 30,000 and 18,000 through exchanges Bitfinex, Kraken and Coinbase in the 24 hours through 22:00 UTC, compared to daily averages of approximately 33,700, 19,000 and 12,000 over the last seven days, Bitcoinity figures reveal.

Both today's sharp drop – and the rangebound trading that was present in recent sessions – have occurred as bitcoin continued to face ongoing technical challenges. The scaling debate, in particular, has been drawing significant attention, as industry insiders have been unable to develop a consensus after two years of ongoing debate.

As a result, the perceived need for a hard fork (or the creation of two separate bitcoin blockchains and tokens) has grown.

While such an event could create far larger blocks with significantly greater capacity, market experts have warned it could also reduce prices notably.

Diver image via Shutterstock

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