In what is likely to be one of the biggest corrections ever seen in the burgeoning cryptocurrency market, the total value of the nascent asset class, created with the advent of bitcoin in 2009, shed billions on Friday.
At press time, the total value of all cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and the 1,300 others trading, is down more than 30 percent from its all-time high of $650 billion reached earlier this week. But while the markets hit a low of $418 billion today, year-over-year the markets are still up 4,000 percent, from just under $10 billion on Jan. 1, 2017.
So, is the market selling to buy holiday gifts? Or are evil bankers at work in the market?
While theories abound, the data is indisputable: The price of bitcoin fell nearly $5,000 in just hours to drop below $11,000, and many other cryptocurrencies have followed its downward trend, dropping 30 to 40 percent over the day's trading.
At $10,800, the price of bitcoin was nearly half of what it was when it topped $19,783 last Sunday.
Leading the downward trend has been bitcoin, the market's most well-known asset, which after opening the day above $15,000 has since been trending down.
Bitcoin down more than $2k today, drops below $13,000 pic.twitter.com/V7DrMLEJZ0
Still, it's worth putting the decline in context.
For example, the market has almost returned to its value prior to announcements by major U.S. exchanges that they would offer exposure to bitcoin via futures products.
Also relevant is the size of the correction when viewed on a historical scale.
Today’s bitcoin price correction in historical context (Data via CoinDesk BPI) pic.twitter.com/OUuWFJ9IFd
Elsewhere, it seems almost no major cryptocurrency was spared.
According to data site CoinMarketCap, almost all the top 100 cryptocurrencies by trading volume are recording a decrease of at least over 30 percent.
The rare exceptions are Agoras Tokens and SuperNet, lesser-known coins that have seen a 30 percent pump.
Even assets that had been strong performers in recent weeks felt the pinch.
XRP, the cryptocurrency overseen by San Francisco startup Ripple, saw its price dip nearly 40 percent after rising more than 400 percent in recent weeks.
Litecoin, which had also seen meteoric gains of late, was no match for the sell-off either, seeing its price return below $300 after an influx of new buyers propelled it to all-time highs.
Also notable was that the movement in major bitcoin futures markets also coincided with the crash.
Delayed data from Cboe and CME, the two U.S. exchanges that previously listed the bitcoin futures products, shows that all contracts that expire in the first three months next year are dropping over 20 percent percent in the trading day.
Among them, the contract that expires in January on CME group had also hit the circuit breaker at $12,265.
It's worth noting, however, that demand for both products has remained.
Balloons via Shutterstock
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