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Cryptocurrency selling intensifies: Bitcoin heads for worst week since 2013

Slump in prices this week means market value of cryptocurrencies down to $385 bn, less than half the high it reached in Jan

Reuters  |  London 


plunged on Friday, with several of the largest falling by more than 20 per cent and bitcoin sliding below $8,000 and headed for its worst week since 2013, as worries about a regulatory clampdown globally sent investors scrambling to sell.

The slump in prices this week means the total market value of is down to $385 billion, less than half the high it reached in January, according to industry tracker

The market value of is calculated by multiplying the number of digital coins in existence by their price, although many question whether that is the right way to value them.

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Bitcoin, the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, fell 12 per cent on Friday to a two-month low of $7,910 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange. It is down more than 30 per cent this week.

The second and third largest virtual currencies, Ethereum and Ripple, have plunged 23 and 31 per cent respectively in the past 24 hours, said.

"The regulatory pressure is extremely strong and that is creating a bad environment for cryptos.

In the short term, it's shaking out a lot of investors," said Naeem Aslam, a London-based at who holds positions in

have poured money into digital coins, enticed by the huge run-up in prices, but regulators who say are highly speculative and dangerous investments are wrestling with what to do.

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on Thursday vowed to eradicate the use of crypto-assets, joining and in promising to ban parts of the nascent market where prices have boomed in recent years.

website said this week it would ban advertising because many were associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, while US regulators have sent a subpoena to two of the world's biggest players, and Tether

A massive $530 million hack of a Japanese exchange last week has also renewed concerns about the security of the industry.

Supporters of say short-term price volatility is to be expected and does not undermine the power and value of the underpinning them.

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The run-up in prices, however, has largely been driven by speculative investment.

Going back to 2011 and including the current selloff, bitcoin's price has been halved nine times on the Bitstamp exchange before it recovered. The last time was from November 2014 to January 2015.

First Published: Fri, February 02 2018. 18:40 IST