UPDATE (March 13, 02:44 UTC): Bitcoin's price briefly sank below $4,000 before rebounding to between $5,300 and $5,500 in a 30-minute period. The rapid price rise followed complaints on Twitter that crypto derivatives trading platform Bitmex had gone offline, though it is unclear whether this is related.
Bitcoin (BTC) and the broader cryptocurrency market continued this week's sharp decline, with the world's largest crypto falling to around $4,800.
The crypto space echoed the broader global trading markets: Equities have been in free-fall mode, prompting another halt to trading as the S&P 500 suffered another 9.5 percent drop on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is also down around 10 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 9.43 percent to around 7,201 basis points.
The Asian markets fared no better as the Australian ASX All Ordinaries dropped 7.23 percent while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 4.4 percent and is set to continue its slide into deeper losses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly $63 billion has been wiped from the markets as the total market capitalization of all crypto fell from $223 billion to $161 billion, with BTC falling more than 39 percent over the past 24 hours to levels not seen since April 2019.
As for other top crypto assets, ethereum (ETH) is at $109, while XRP (XRP) is trading at 14 cents.
Balances containing 100 or more bitcoin have fallen to their lowest point since Dec. 31, 2019, signaling a flight to cash as other supposed safe-haven assets like gold fell 3.5 percent.
In the near term, investors expect major volatility. However, many express optimism when considering the long-term.
"Not a market for the faint-hearted. Staggering losses all round," CEO of BCB Group Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie said.
"Ahead of the halving we have a half-price sale and it won’t last long. The market is oversold on correlated global economic jitters and it’s not hard to see a short term correction," Landsberg-Sadie added.
However, a small glimmer of hope remains for those high-net-worth individuals, Landsberg-Sadie claims, who continue to put in purchase orders for bitcoin, despite the economic turmoil happening all around.
"Those four were all purchase orders. Of the high-net-worth individual buyers, two were U.K, one Swiss."
Others stated it was the long-term perspective that offered more promising returns on their investment as traders await the bloodbath in global markets to conclude.
"In the long term, we see this period as an opportunity for many investors to get exposure to the asset class at attractive prices,” said Asim Ahmad, founding partner and co-chief investment officer at Eterna Capital.
Ido Sadeh Man, founder and chairman of the board at Saga Foundation, said conditions from a macro perspective look shaky at best.
"The near-future looks hyper volatile and even chaotic," he said. "This will only continue to weigh on the global economy, and ultimately hurt the pockets of individuals. The only available tool for corporates and households alike is to look at diversification strategies of their assets and currencies, to protect and preserve their value."
On the technical side, BTC has broken down from a head and shoulders pattern that had been staring down traders since March 8's initial breakdown from $8,900 to just under $8,000.
High levels of spot volume as well as a dip into extreme oversold territory, as seen by the daily RSI, a measure of trend strength and momentum, do not bode well for crypto in the short term although a bounce may be on the cards, once the bloodletting ceases.
"In the short term we expect the bitcoin price to follow the market sentiment driven by monetary and fiscal policies in response to COVID-19 developments," Ahmad added.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.